After more than three months in transit, my stuff finally arrived last weekend. I guess I officially live in Dublin now.
But is it home?
This is an interesting question for an expat. Home is comfortable. Home is familiar. For an expat living on her own in a brand new country, comfort and familiarity are are not givens – they are much sought after luxuries.
This may be my first experience living abroad but I’ve still lived in many different places – some felt like home right away, some never did. I felt instantly at home in Montclair, NJ (just outside of NYC) and though I haven’t been back there in several years, I know those feelings of comfort and familiarity would return the instant I did. Most recently, I lived in Los Angeles and, though I was there for eight years, it never really felt like home – I always felt like an outsider looking in. I always feel comfort and familiarity, not to mention love, when I’m in Buffalo but when there, I have fleeting moments where I feel like a visitor, intruding on the everyday lives of my family and friends.
As an expat, and a single person, the concept of home is different for me. There’s no one person in my life whose mere presence makes a place my home. There’s no place where I’ve resided for so long that only it could ever be my home. For me and perhaps for other expats, home is more a state of mind.
When I feel I understand a place and it understands me, when I know there are people there I can count on when I really need them, when being in that place makes me feel centered and safe and at peace, then… I’m home.
Dublin is where I live now, but will it ever be home? The jury’s still out – but I’ll keep you posted.