After being in Costa Rica for almost two months, Rob and I headed back to Canada. Mostly for Blue Skies Music Festival (the greatest place in the world), but also to visit friends and family. Oh, and also, to work in our Toronto offices.
When we were in Canada visiting, I found myself referring to ‘home’ a lot. But I used ‘home’ to refer to many different places and it got me thinking…what even is home, anyway?
When we were leaving Costa Rica, we were telling people that we were going to home to Canada for a visit. That makes sense. It’s where we have always lived. It is where we are from. Our passports say so.
Upon arriving to the airport in Toronto, I texted my sister to tell her that we had landed and we were going to be ‘home’ soon. That makes sense. That is the apartment we have leased in our names, that holds all our stuff, where all our mail goes, and most importantly, where our catbaby lives. It is our permanent address, it is our ‘home’.
When I was working in my Toronto office, I was telling colleagues that I would be taking some days off because I was going home to visit my parents. Now, this is where it gets interesting.
When I visit my mom, I am not visiting the house that I grew up in. I’m not even visiting the town I grew up in, but she is my mom and she is ‘home’.
My dad has lived in the same place since I was 5 years old (give or take a year). I never permanently lived there, but that is where I spent many weekends and summer nights, camping in the backyard, climbing trees, and trespassing through neighbours properties. It is familiar. And this is where my dad is, and he is ‘home’.
When we were at Blue Skies, I found myself telling people that it felt like home. I’m not a Blue Skies baby (someone who has been attending the festival since exiting the womb), but this was my 14th consecutive year attending. This is a place where I see friends that I only see once a year. A place where we spend quality time with the McDiarmid’s. A place where new friends and old friends come together. It feels safe and it feels familiar, and it feels like ‘home’ for one weekend a year.
When our time in Canada was nearing it’s end, I found myself talking about going ‘home’ to Costa Rica. This one surprised me. We’ve only been here for two months. Most of the stuff in our apartment isn’t ours. I get nervous going through customs because we don’t yet have proof of residency. Yet, I still felt like it was my current ‘home’. It’s the place where my phone automatically connects to the wifi (but I actually don’t need it because I have a working phone with data and cell service). It’s where my leftovers are stored and where my plants are (dying). Somehow, without really noticing, Costa Rica has become my newest home. Temporary as it may be, it’s the home I am very grateful to be able to my list of ‘homes’.
So, what even is ‘home’?
Truth be told, I used to struggle with this feeling of uncertainty of lack of identity of what my home was. When my childhood home was no longer a house I could visit, when my family was distributed across different geographic locations, when I didn’t live at my permanent address – I didn’t really understand what ‘home’ meant. At that time, I considered home to be one place that never changes.
So, I guess I’m learning that ‘home’ is many things. It’s a place, it’s a person, it’s a feeling.
I say this, as a person of extreme privilege. A person who has not one but two dwellings that I can call home, people that love and support me unconditionally, and the feeling of safe spaces where I can truly, unapologetically be me.
So, while I am having a moment of discovery that I, in fact, have many ‘homes’, I am also thinking about those that do not. Those who do not have secure housing, or access to a safe space, or a loving and supportive network. I wish we lived in a world where that is not the case. And maybe one day we can.