My husband Peter often teases me when I refer to Torrance, California (where I grew up) as my home. Example: “The next time I am going home is in April for my sister’s wedding.” His reasoning is that we live, work and rent our apartment in Sydney, Australia, our home. If his perspective is right, then when did Australia become our home and not just a novelty or a permanent vacation destination?
Was it when our furniture arrived after two months in quarantine? When I got my job? When I got on the Manly Ferry and no longer elbowed tourists out of the way for the best seat with the best view? The first time I used “mate” in a sentence without it feeling weird?
When talking with my expat friends I find that they often refer to their point of origin as home as well. Living overseas for two years our conversations have evolved past complaining about living in empty apartments, the cost of a cocktail and the inefficiency of Australian internet installation. Now it’s a discussion about visas, obtaining permanent residency, careers, kids, Medicare and our future plans. Is Sydney our home and we just haven’t accepted the fact or will it ever be?
After asking myself these questions I came to the conclusion that we just may have different definitions of the word home. Peter is much more of literal thinker and equates “home” to a distinct location. For me, the word is sentimental and relates to a state of mind and a feeling of childhood nostalgia surrounded by family. Although we have no plans to leave Australia any time soon, we often toss around the idea of living in other parts of the world at some point. If our globetrotting lifestyle continues Peter and I will have to compromise on what home means to us and maybe redefine the word entirely. I’m not normally one to quote song lyrics, but a line from the song “Home” by Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros sums it up pretty perfectly. “Home is wherever I’m with you.”