First of all, apologies to my regular readers for what has been a very long lull between postings! The main reason behind this is that I have been in the process of moving house.
Now in fairness, moving house ought to be something I’m used to. I once worked out that, by the age of 22, I had moved on average about once every two years, and that’s without counting the inevitable toing and froing at the end of each university term! So you’d think that by now the business of boxes, bubble wrap, tissue paper and change of address cards would be second nature.
Sadly not. The upheaval of moving doesn’t seem to diminish with experience, and although I am now fairly adept with a tube of bubble wrap and a parcel tape dispenser, these practical skills seem to have very little bearing on the overall emotional turmoil of moving house. So January and February have been tiring months.
Now, though, we are fully settled in our London abode, the number of packing cases has been cut down to a manageable pile in our store cupboard, and I’m no longer washing up every five minutes to ensure we make best use of the one plate we are sharing between us. All of which is good news and offers a chance to reflect.
And what’s interesting is that moving house helps you to focus on what “home” actually means to you. A day or two before we finally moved out of our last place, I was sitting alone, absolutely surrounded by boxes, with bare walls around me and a microwave meal heated up on that one communal dining plate. To be fair, it wasn’t the most exhilarating moment of 2013 to date. But even in that bare house with nothing personal on display and hardly a comfortable surface to sit on, it still felt like home.
In many ways, home is a state of mind – it’s about how you feel somewhere, who you are with and how you interact with them, and what you are able to make of the space you find yourself in. One of the big upsides of having moved so many times as a child is that I can put down “temporary” roots in all sorts of places – whether it’s an anonymous hotel room for a single night, or a college room for eight weeks at a time – and actually quite enjoy it. Conversely, I can feel “homesick” even when I am somewhere quite familiar, especially if I am feeling low anyway or am missing those people who mean most to me.
I suppose that’s all a very long-winded way of paraphrasing the age-old saying that “home is where the heart is”.
Now, back to unpacking those last few boxes….