Sunday, 6 November 2016

Where is Home?

Until very recently, I had always been very firm about where my home was. I had always lived in a little corner of North West London, and had only moved once in my life about 5 miles down the road. Then in the space of a month, my parents uprooted to the South Coast, and I moved again back up to the Midlands. It was a bit hectic and rather confusing, and I’m still trying to process it all.

I’ve been at University here for about 6 weeks now, and I seem to be coping relatively well so far. Things are busy, but I quite like them being busy and I’ve made a group of friends and enjoying my course. There is one thing that has been bothering me since I’ve moved here though, and that’s that I’m not really sure where home even is anymore.

For most of my friends here, it’s simple; they’ve always lived in the same area and still do, and that’s home. It’s a little more complicated on my side. For me, I think, London will always be my home. It’s my favourite city in the world, it’s where I grew up and where so many life-changing events happened to me. It’s where all of my friends are in the holidays and everything is familiar. I don’t have to think about how the tube works or the times of the buses, how late everything is open or where I need to go to get something. It’s a diverse and open-minded city with things going on all the time that I can just escape into and find something new. I’ve been to visit a few times since I’ve been at University, and every time I step off at St. Pancras station, I feel so happy and relaxed.

I did spend three weeks in that town on the south coast, and whilst I know all my stuff and some of my family is there, I just can’t call it home. The house is unfamiliar and not mine, it takes a half hour walk to get to any form of civilisation and I have nobody there besides my dad and some of my stepfamily. Part of this struggle, I think, is that I haven’t been able to go back since I moved to University, for a number of reasons. The first is that, I just find it easier to settle into a place if I don’t leave it for a while. Second is money and time; a train from the midlands to the south coast is not direct, nor cheap and I can’t really afford the train tickets nor the 5 hour journey to get there. There have been many weekends here my friends have headed off home and it’s been making me think about where that is a lot.

Last weekend I spent my first nights away from my University town, in the centre of London with a friend. I was worried that it was going to make me homesick and not want to go back, that I was going to go back to University and hate every minute I wasn’t back in London.

But, as I boarded the train due north and sat in my seat, I had an odd, comforting thought that I couldn’t wait to get back to my pokey student room and see my friends and get back to the town. I was filled with relief that my excursion back to my home city hadn’t made me incredibly sad, and in fact had made me realise how attached I had become to this little city in a few short weeks. It’s definitely no London, and I have to say I do miss being able to attend all the book events I used to when I lived in London. But for now, this little city in the middle of the country really isn’t such a bad place to call my new temporary home.


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