Only a couple days left of #Janblogaday. For day 29: Home.
There are two kinds of people in the world.
There are those people who are ready to get up and move to another country right now. Just say they can and they will. Furniture is no big deal. Fit most their things in a few suitcases, no prob. Like camping? Check. Give us a map and five bucks and we’ll see you next year with our backpack of souvenirs and cool stories that include glaciers, llamas, and Mother Teresa.
Then there is the second kind of people. People who are quite connected to the idea of “home.” These people like their pots and pans and new reclining chair. They’re lifelong friends with their neighbours and when everyone has kids, their children will grow up to marry each other. They own three coolers, a lawnmower and an Apple TV. They believe the best kind of holiday breaks them back to this home.
We all have friends in category one, and we love them. They’re the people we admire and get sick of their Facebook photos of adventures in exotic locations you’ve never heard of.
Colin and I (until recently) are category two people (which is why you see all those exotic place photos on our Facebook — we want you to know we’ve made the jump from cat 1 to cat 2). We’re the people who registered for a Nintendo Wii on our wedding registry. I have at least 25 dish towels that all match the colour scheme of my kitchen. I cried when I got the duvet covered I’ve always wanted. I have enough place settings for a dinner party for eight.
Leaving all that behind to move to a country we’d never been to was actually quite an issue. Moving to the southern hemisphere’s Hawaii, where the government says “four weeks of paid vacation for all” wasn’t really a no-brainer for us. I had issues. Lots of issues. Leaving our King-sized bed and Martha Stewart bake-ware were among the listed cons of moving away from home.
Nine months previous to our considering moving to New Zealand, some friends of ours (another newly-wed couple) were just selling away their items to move to Melbourne, Australia. At the time I couldn’t imagine moving so far from home. Australia, lovely. But away from family? And friends? And Walmart? And Jack in the Box? (Turns out we’re missing nothing by living away from JnB). I couldn’t fit the idea of moving away so far into my tiny little, unimaginative brain.
I was having a conversation with one of them about two weeks before they moved. I was asking all sorts of really dumb questions like — Aren’t you sad? Do you think you’ll live there forever? Are you going to adopt a wild dingo? And he said something to me that was quite profound. It’s stuck with me all this time and it was a game-changer piece of advice in my life that would help make our decision to move to New Zealand a year later.
He told me, “I never want to be someone who is owned by my stuff. My dresser, my couch. I never want it to own me and tie me down.”
It was like the gods of “the household” moved a mountain for me and I could make out the dim form of a new home far away. Okay, it wasn’t quite like that. At the time I only thought of it as sort of a strange thing to say. But I guess you never really consider the concept of how much your stuff owns you until it’s called into question.
For me, judgement day was the day I got a job offer from World Vision New Zealand. Suddenly I felt like I had to choose between my career and my bookcase. This is not an easy decision for someone like me who really, really likes her bookcase. In the end, our decision to move was based on two major things: 1) We could always, always come back home. We could sit on a couch in Puyallup, Washington again if we wanted to; 2) It was silly to let my possessions own me, to keep me from a great life opportunity and career opportunity. I might love my couch pillows, but there will be more couch pillows in life.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve learned an important lesson in the definition of home living 8500 miles away from the place I called home for the better 90% of my life: Home doesn’t have to be one place. Home is where you build it to be… it’s wherever you left it to be. Home is where you go to when life was good that day and when it was hard.
Home for me is where I can return to whenever I want and feel like it never left me. Sometimes that’s here. Most of the time that’s in Seattle where family is. But all the time, it’s always there… waiting for me to come back. And that’s my favourite part about it. It never leaves.
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More from #Janblogaday: Day 1: New… year, new resolution. Day 2: Two… things you should never say to your partner. Day 3: Bucket list… of (some un)realistic wishes. Day 4: Pet peeve… fountains are not the new jungle gym. Day 5: Fear not, even if I am a little crazy. Day 6: Embarrassment: Lindsey – 1, Dad – 4. Day 7: The shoe horoscope. Day 8: A little honesty. Day 9: Made with love: Wintery Instagram jam. Day 10: Grandma took my room, so I took her pajamas. Day 11: A husband confession. Day 12: Haiti changed me. Day 13: Top ten ‘why not’ finds at Walmart. Day 14: Guess that food. Day 15: A hug-free, dent-free left-hand side of the road. Day 16: I’m getting my own tube. Day 17: This is your brain on bacon. Day 18: Dear newly-wed. Day 19: Superpowerful and hungry. Day 20: Beauty to me. Day 21: Happy. Day 22: Lock me up in a kids world. Day 23: Social media in desserts. Day 24: Teacherhood of a dirty chalkboard. Day 25: el.oh.vee.ee. Day 26: 8 reasons you need New Zealand summer in your life. Day 27: Regret moments, not years. Day 28: (Surprise from Ben) Starting a social media sing-along. Tomorrow day 30: My biggest flaw.
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