A little piece I submitted to Oh Comely magazine after they asked readers to write about their experiences of “home”. It may or may not be published. I’m hoping so.
This time last year my home moved 4,774 miles west. From a 1906 Victorian semi on the edge of Nottingham, to a 1996 white modern box in the forest on the edge of Portland, Oregon. It was all a bit….. different. The dog chewed reading chair from my Great Aunt, the tiger wood chest and the wonky oak dining table suddenly seemed like unwelcome intruders in this shiny new setting. Even personal paraphernalia, the things that made me “me”, seemed out of place in my new home.
So we existed, me, my old furniture and my new home together. I did all the right things. I put up family photographs. I found places for the little things I loved — the tiny ceramic birds from an old friend, the tin of dominoes found in my Granddad’s attic. I bought plants. Plants were the answer. Plants would make this strange new place feel like home. They didn’t. Nothing did. This strange new box of mine just wasn’t home.
But over the next few months, as we settled; the plants, the ceramic birds and I, something very lovely started to happen. The busted old arm chair started to look like it belonged. It made dents in the carpet with it’s feet and the pillow, which at first had sat so uncomfortably stiff, softened and settled into place.
So it seems, for me at least, that home comes with time. Yes, it’s people and it’s things and it’s places. But mostly it’s time. Time enough to settle into place and feel like you finally belong.