Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Home Is Where...

Finish the following sentence; Home is where...

Here are some of the more common responses (according to the cleverly designed images on Pinterest):
Home is where…
… the heart is.
… your husband is.
… your cat is.
… the pants aren’t.
… the wine is.
… the wifi connects automatically.

My husband and I had lived in Winkler, Manitoba for about three years. It made sense to live there—my husband is the owner of an amazing café, which was founded and still stands in Winkler. After a while we decided Winkler just wasn’t the place for us. We decided to try our hand at not only a different city, but also a difference province. A year and a half ago we took the plunge, packed up our car with anything and everything that would fit, and hit the road for the journey to Hamilton, Ontario. Leaving behind family, friends, and a business was an interesting decision to make, but we felt it was time to get away and explore.

Hamilton, often referred to as ‘the armpit of Canada’, is where we hung our hats, with frequent trips to Toronto in our regular routines. I wanted to leave behind my radio past and pursue a career baking sweet things for even sweeter folks. My wonderful husband wanted to go to school and explore interests he had. It was a time for growth, for change, for adventure—we thrive on adventure.

A year a half of adventure in Hamilton came and went, and just over a week ago, we hopped into a loaded up U-Haul, cat in cab, and drove the over 2,000 km journey back to Manitoba.

Manitoba is where my husbands business is, it’s where both of our families are, where long lasting bonds were formed and still exist, and where we would generally refer to as ‘home’ for the sake of easy reference to where we originated from before our cross-province move. As we journeyed through snowstorms and hours passed in a vehicle that wasn’t our own, I had very mixed feelings about returning to Manitoba—returning ‘home’. It doesn’t feel exciting, it doesn’t feel like returning somewhere filled with epic memories of even more epic past-times, a specific place, specific time, specific smell or taste that ‘takes me back’. It leads me to wonder, what really defines a place as ‘home’?

Insert generic cheesy dictionary definition of home here:

As we can see from the definition above, 'home' is really just a place we reside. To contrast the definition, the saying ‘home is where…’ evokes in us a sense of warmth, love, comfort and acceptance. The idea is home is one permanent places where all the good things are—where life is what you want it to be. Where life is simple and friendly and perfect. It’s a sentiment in the most sentimental of ways involving both imagery and feelings. As time has flown by, and as we have travelled to unknown places, we realized we don’t really plan to remain stationary in life. Never wanting to ‘settle down’ somewhere can greatly affect the anchored ideals of ‘home’.

Pinterest-- thanks for the perfect image.

When I ponder the ideals we expect to find in one place alone, I can find the attributes defining the feeling of home in each place I’ve been—welcoming faces, hugs, delicious homemade food, late night conversations, gatherings... These attributes aren't confined to the places I have resided. They are found in every place I've ever been—even Dominican Republic and especially Thailand.

The more I think about home the more I appreciate finding the feelings of home in all the places I visit. Whether I am visiting my parents at their house, my in-laws at theirs, friends in Winnipeg, or acquaintances across the ocean, I can more easily feel the sentiments of ‘home’ in smiles, warm welcomes, and saddened goodbyes, then in physical spaces and places. 
This makes sense. 
This is what home is meant to be. 
Home is where... you feel welcome and special, you are challenged to grow, encouraged to be who you are meant to be, and leave with well wishes at your back and reassurance to pursue the new adventures at your feet.

Oh... and in my world, let's be honest... Home is where the baking happens.

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