Sunday, March 28, 2010

Home, home, sweet home

What is "home" for you?

Home is a "notion", not really a place, I think.

Also, it does exist a "home town", whatever that means. Is the "home-town" the one where you were born and, eventually raised as child, as teenager? The place of your parents, of your family? Is it the one you live now, together or alone?

No, more I think about it, home is not a place, at least not as house or apartment or town or village.

It is were you feel loved, secure and "at home".

As with many "notions" it is more easy to tell and become aware of "home" when you loose it. As I lost it, the first time, when I was ten, towards the end of the second world war. Home, was taken out, like a carpet from my feet.

A morning, very early, my mother waked me up: here is this small luggage, put all you need in it, in an hour we depart to Budapest. I put inside my favourite toys and my doll, with whom I was sleeping every night.

'What did you put in here?' my mother come to me outraged. Not that big doll! You'll have no more place for your clothes! Do I need the clothes? But the doll came out, and I had to separate from it. 'Let's tell Magdi we go to Budapest.' She was my cousin, best friend, and schoolmate. Classmate, too. 'No time.'

We left and were far from "home" for a whole year, hiding in one place then another, with false names.

When we finally came back, to the same city, same apartment, even same furniture, home was a lot less home. My grand-parents and Magdi, my cousin with her mother, have been taken away. I wrote, then, at age eleven, "They burned her, she went into smoke, and they made even soap from her!" I still hoped for same time she did escape.

My neighbour's daughter, after we quarrelled once, told me: "my mother told me you should not have come back!" After that, "home" was less home. But with time, I found some new friends. When I had to go away, to a big town where my father worked now, for almost ten years, I still felt Cluj, "my city" was "home" and not were I lived.

From place to place, city to city, country to country, I learned to make a "home" where I was then for my family, and very fast, make it warm and "homely".

I do feel "home" now here in London, welcomed. In the morning I admire the dawn from my big windows, and the diversity of people is welcoming me, making me feel "home". I found a "home" also with the Toastmasters club, the friendly people I met through it, but even in the streets, just exchanging look and a few words with unknown people.

Home is a feeling, I think.

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