It´s been a few weeks since I started working again after my holiday which I spent with my family and friends in Germany. Even though I enjoyed the time with my loved ones, it is really nice to be back and also going back for two weeks made me realize something.
It made me realize that the moment I arrived in the Netherlands and decided to stay here for one year, I decided to give up having my home set up in one place. I decided to give up home as it means when you have a place where you feel like you belong and have all the people around that you want to be with. Suddenly realizing this on my train ride home to Germany, since has left me with mixed feelings.
On the one hand I got really sad because it feels like getting torn apart, not belonging anywhere anymore and losing the feeling of security because from one day to the other you are getting exposed to a lot of new situations and emotions without being prepared.
My ID card tells you that I am “home” in Germany, in the city where I grew up and of course that is where I have a home, a shelter to which I can always return – back into the loving arms of my family if I need and want to. It is also the place where I went to school, met my friends and my first real love and made almost all of my memories for eighteen long years. But on the contrary to the stability of my parent´s house, which I am really grateful for, also this has changed for me within the last year. I finished school, most of my friends moved out and are hardly at home anymore now, my boyfriend and I broke up and all the memories are a nice souvenir from the past but not a reason to stay as they are only an echo from what is already over. It just isn’t the same and I don’t belong there anymore. Asserting that this feeling had only come up when I entered another country and was leaving my old life behind would be a lie as exactly this was one of the reasons why I decided to take part in an ESC-project.
I always felt like there were so much more things waiting for me outside my bubble. Outside the bubble of my small german village in which I lived happily but at the same time couldn´t wait until it burst three months ago and let me leave my old life behind: it was time.
Which brings me to the place, where I am living right now and which I am calling home for eight more months. Here in the Netherlands, I am sharing my home not with my family but with my roommate who has become a friend and also kind of family by taking care, great conversations, understanding and sharing private life in a narrow space which leads to an inevitable intimacy.
Here, I have been starting from zero. Neither knowing the language, nor the people or the work I have been up to do. Everything was new and I have been figuring out a lot of stuff since I arrived here for the first time. By now, I know the people working here, I get along with them really well and feel comfortable. I like my work and I learn a lot and also the language is not so much of a problem anymore. It is going better every day and I am happy about the decision of being here because it gives me a lot of… of everything.
So this is my other world I am living in and which is so different of what I was used to and how I used to live. I am still in the process of making myself more at home because even though everyone is nice, I already made few friends and have met many nice people I feel lonely sometimes and I am missing socialising with people my age that live near to me. At the same time I am overstrained how and where I can do this (the pandemic isn´t really helping either).
What helps me and therefore also needs to be mentioned is the support technical devices guarantee me by allowing me to reach out to my parents, my friends and also helped me to keep up my long distance relationship. This advantage of modern technology really makes the whole process of starting life in a strange environment so much easier. It is so amazing that I can have my loved ones around without actually having them around and still being able to be there for them even though I am somewhere else. For me that is the bridge that connects my two worlds I am living in and which gives me stability while I can decide how much I want the influence from my “old” life to be on the new one which I am designing and building up myself during my time here.
This gives me some control while I feel myself floating around between these two worlds, belonging to both but at the same time belonging nowhere at all.
The insight of not feeling at home anywhere anymore has made me really sad and even though I consciously made that decision it hurts a lot to accept that.
On the other hand I feel relieved somehow. Relieved because I don’t need to put myself under pressure again of having one home, one place to stay and one space where I feel comfortable at and which can be found on a map. Relieved because I got to see that the people who are supporting me are not necessarily connected to one place but to me, no matter where I am or where they are.
So, if it is just about exerting tasks it seems easy:
Of course I am at home now here in Drogeham, if you are asking for the address I am living at right now.
Of course I am also at home in Dinkelsbühl, if you are looking at where I am registered in Germany.
But due to the simpleness of language I am not at home anywhere if you are asking me where I feel at home.
Because being at home for me means to have found a place where you want to stay, a place where you feel comfortable and don’t want to leave because it makes you happy just being there and building up your life around this place. But besides me not belonging and not feeling at home anywhere right now, I realized something else which helps me to accept all of it and which I am working on now step by step:
Before I can be at home again somewhere on this world, I need to find my home within myself.
And that is what I am working on right now.