A home is where your heart is.
A house is made of brick and mortar, but home is made by the people who live there.
Home is what you make it.
These phrases are a hollow heart to the essence of a home. Words aren’t enough in my books; home has always been a feeling.
The magic key is without a doubt, the smell you breathe as you open the door. It hits you instantly. It’s the mixture of brick and wood, the spices and baking, the perfumes and washing powder. It’s one of the most oddly pleasant smells you can smell, but it can’t be bottled and you forgot about the power it has on you, until that very moment.
You walk in and know exactly wear you should put your things down. Making a sandwich is easy, because you know the butter is in the white container and the bread is where it always lives. You take a sneaky coffee biscuit and head to the living room. The blankets are kept in the same basket as they were ten years ago and you can comfortably snuggle into the old familiar moulds in the lounge chair as you switch on the TV.
Home isn’t just the daily routine and placement of furniture though, it’s much more.
The happy jacks wake you up and the sound of the Mixmaster is comforting. You feel relaxed by the humming air conditioner and the mower doesn’t bother you. Yet, the most comforting noise out of all is the voices of those who are home.
You know when to expect a bad joke, or a kiss goodnight. You are prepared for a cheeky tickle on your neck and the pull from little fingers on your hair. You know when it’s time to make a cup of tea and a hug embraces you before your first teardrop falls.
This is home to me.
I have lived in houses that never turned into homes.
And I call many places home that I’ve never actually lived in.
In January, I had the opportunity to go home – to Denmark. I had signed up to be a Rotary Youth Exchange student eleven years ago, in the hope that I could experience what it was like to live in a big city. Instead, I was assigned to a Danish community with fewer than 20,000 people and ended up back in the country landscapes.
For years, I couldn’t shake my disappointment of wondering what type of experience I would have had in a city. Getting to school on a train, ordering pizza to your doorstep, endless opportunities of entertainment and fun – that’s what I was seeking.
But it wasn’t until I headed back this year that I realised none of that mattered. What mattered was that the houses I lived in became my homes. A deep love was built with the families I lived with and I would pass up any city living opportunity in a heartbeat to feel the warmth of being home.