What makes a home? We live in a room, in buildings, in cities, but what is it that makes that room/building/city our home? We carve a niche for ourselves in these places and fill it with our material possessions, but what is that ingredient that truly makes it feel like home? Why do we feel the need to create homes for ourselves? Our ancestors were nomads, traveling from one place to the next once resources had been depleted, but we have evolved to the point where, for the most part, we settle into one place which we call home. Yes, people continue to move around for various reasons – jobs, university, family, etc. – but we still entrench ourselves in a new community, a new city, a new house and we make a home for ourselves.
I, like our nomadic ancestors, have moved around a lot and I think it is this that has instilled in me the desire to plant roots, to want to be settled, at least for a little while. I went to three elementary schools by the age of nine, and from that point my family was static until I went to college. It was then that my mother and her husband moved into an apartment and have since moved thrice more. Between living in a dorm for four years, having to move in and out every fall and spring, and never feeling as though I had a space to call my own during the summers, my desire for a home has been firmly established. Dorm life meant all of my belongings were in one room which I shared with another person. Now I live in a studio and all the possessions which my suitcases allowed me to carry are still in one room, but I don’t have to share anymore. It’s my space and I can do with it as I please.
London, as a city, feels more like home to me than any place I’ve lived before, but I have yet to figure out just how to turn my flat into a home. Part of it probably stems from the fact that I currently view my flat as a place to sleep and shower. It should be more than that. It should be a refuge, a comfort, a place to check your troubles at the door and feel a sense of relief. And there’s only one solution to that: more pillows. I am a firm believer that, regardless of their function as pure decoration or as sleep inducing agents, pillows of all sorts are a necessary ingredient in the creation of a home. They add a feeling of comfort. Voila! The answer to my question. Comfort. That’s the key ingredient. The difference between a house and a home. I feel comfortable with London, but I’m still getting accustomed to my flat. I have been trying to fit myself into the flat rather than shape it into a fitting piece of my own personal puzzle. I was afraid of becoming too attached, planting myself too deeply. There is a good chance that come the end of next January, I will have to leave England and return to my land of origin. If that happens, it will be a dark day indeed, but that should not darken my time here. As cliche as it may sound, I will seize the day and make my house into a home one pillow at a time.