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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What Does Home Mean to You?

Last week it was finally time for me to make the 14 hour drive up to Canada. M and I have said many goodbyes throughout our periods of being in a long distance relationship but (if I'm being totally honest) I still cry like a baby every time.

As we’ve had delay after delay with our immigration case, I knew my husband and I would be facing a period of separation. We’d already spent a month apart earlier this year as I was travelling through Central America but it’s different when it’s voluntary. This time the government is forcing us to go our separate ways as my tourist visa to the States has expired. I was trying to be optimistic last month but you know what? Let’s be frank about it  having to live in a different country from your husband just sucks.  

It’s hard when there are so many answers that are unknown. When am I going to see M again? Is my immigration visa going to face another delay? Are we making enough money for it to be approved? Will we be together for Christmas?

In the soft light of day break, we hugged and kissed a tearful “see you soon”. I got in the car and watched my husband’s figure shrink in the distance as I continued to drive farther away from my love. His reflection in the rear view mirror became blurrier as my tears refused to subside. 

Rainy day in Tennessee
It probably wasn't too safe for me to be driving when my vision looked like this
Why am I being so dramatic? I chided myself. I'm going back to Canada. I'm going to be with my family and friends. I'm going home. 

The last sentence gave me a lot to think about though as I continued to drive north. What does home even mean to me?

When I'm travelling I use the word very lightly. I'm so sweaty after this hike, I can't wait to go home and shower, I say, referring to my guesthouse.

When I arrived in Tennessee earlier this summer and walked into a Starbucks with a sign on the door that said No Guns Allowed, I immediately took pause and thought, Well this isn’t like the Starbucks at home. 

When I lived in Ottawa and visited my family in Toronto, at the end of the weekend it was time to go back home ie: the apartment that M and I shared as he was finishing his university degree. It might’ve been small but it was our own.

Handmade Guatemalan ponchos
We're total nerds for buying matching sweaters in Guatemala, far less wearing them at the same time. Trust me, I was embarassed for us! haha
And now here I am sitting in my childhood bedroom. This house is familiar and comforting and home in a sense, but it’s not my home any more. My parents are getting ready to sell it next spring so when I pack up my things and leave this house, I’m leaving it forever.

2014 has been such a year of transition for me. Half of my clothes, my life, and my heart are split between Ontario and Tennessee.

The only notion of home that I keep coming back to is the one that we shared in our wedding vows: “My arms will be your shelter and my heart will be your home.”

As you grow older into adulthood, what does home mean to you? Do you use the term as interchangeably as I do?

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