Leaving Home To Go Home

Leaving Home To Go Home
Husband and I visiting the Giant's Causeway near my parent's house

This past weekend we went back to my parents house to stay for a few days. We did this for a few reasons - to see my parents before we go to the Philippines for Christmas and New Years, to go to a friends house for dinner and board games, and to pick a prescription from the doctors. All vital things to do. And I do love to multitask, killing all those birds with the one stone.

While at home this past weekend I got to thinking about how I was going home, but I was leaving home to go home, and also how my parents house doesn't feel like my home anymore. For most of my life my parents have lived in the same house, with me, and I have considered that home. Even when I was at university, living in different accommodations, I still felt that my parents house was my home. Now, the ties feel a bit looser. I wonder what happened?


The many accomodations

When at university, I lived in university accommodation for the first two years, then I studied abroad, staying in university accommodation once more in a different country, and then I lived in a house with some friends during my final year at university back in Belfast. I always felt very comfortable with all of these living arrangements. I was living with mostly decent people in all these places. Each was comfortable and not as comfortable as I would have liked in their own unique and individual ways. And yet, despite all of the good things about each, I wouldn't have said any of them felt like home. I always left these places with the intention of going home. Home being that place where my Mum and Dad lived, with number 18 on the door.

Perhaps this had more to do with my accommodations during university being centred around studying. Everyone I knew was studying at university too during this time, and everyone, like me, left and went elsewhere at random times, usually the weekend, often going to their own home. It's hard to feel at home when everyone else also has their own home elsewhere. Maybe home requires something more akin to a collective?


The first big job

After university, I studied for a CELTA (better known as a TEFL) and then got a job in northeastern China teaching English. My company organised an apartment for me, very close to the teaching headquarters, and sadly many miles away from the school I would be teaching at. The apartment was decent, cosy and very convenient to McDonald's should I have a taste for bad American fast food, which I often did back then.

Living in China never felt like home to me. Going to China was not my first choice of places abroad to work, but as the pieces fell into place, I went for it with a keen sense of adventure. Sadly, it was not to be a place where I could feel at home, nor would I feel that the English teaching career was for me after all.

Do I regret going? Definitely not It was a great experience, letting me discover what I did want and what I didn't want. Sadly, it never became home. And so I moved back home once more.


Working in the big smoke

Working in the big smoke (Belfast) meant I had to live in the big smoke once more. Unlike university, I would end up living in quite a few different apartments with different people. China was the first time I lived in an apartment before, and now I was living in more apartments in Belfast. I enjoyed living in the apartments in Belfast more than the one in China as there was no learning curve, such as figuring out in China I really shouldn't flush toilet paper as I would simply be seeing it later that day coming back up the toilet.

Despite my fonder memories of living in apartments in Belfast, home was still back in my parents house. I think this was reinforced more so by the fact that during this time of my life I would go back to my parents house most weekends. The tie to my parents house was very much still in place, along with that routine. I felt I was no longer a local university student, but still living as I had before, going home most weekends.


It changed everything

During Covid, I moved back to my parents house. Staying in Belfast was no longer worthwhile, as work from home was now mandated, and it made more sense to live at home where there is more space to go out for a walk when possible in a suburban setting than stay in Belfast, holed up in a terrace row street.

Home, at my parents house, during a snowy Covid winter.

For two years I worked from home, at my parents house, which at the time was very much home. Working from home wasn't meant to last that long, but with different Covid variants and spikes and general uncertainty, the mandate to work from home kept getting extended. Even after my office was reopened for partial return to the office, it didn't seem to be worth the risk lest I contract Covid, which I had so far avoided.

After two years, I was content and cosy in my home. I had no great desire to go back to Belfast to live, especially as working from home had worked out quite well for me. Alas, all good things must come to an end. And, in March 2023, I moved back to Belfast.


A titanic ambition

I moved into my new apartment with trepidation. I hate living alone. Thankfully this didn't last too long. 7 months later, my husband moved over from the Philippines and I had live-in company again. Living with him has reinforced this apartment not simply as somewhere I live, but as my home.

As tragic as this is, home is where the heart is. Where my parents is will always be home. But it will not be the same as the home I currently have with my spouse. And I guess that is the way it is meant to be. Moving out of my parent's house and living in my own abode, I should feel more at home in my current setting. To feel unsettled to such an extent that I actively wanted to always return would suggest that something was wrong. Thankfully all is well in my new home.


Home is here.

Where comfort and challenge and coalescing coexist in cohabitation.

Two cosy guys