Sunday, August 17, 2008

Lessons from Home

My parents' house in the trees, viewed from the river.

Our neighbour's house and barns, easier to see!

I've returned from my 3-week exodus to the east coast and I'm settling back into life here in Calgary. I've been thinking a lot about what makes "home" and that definition is different for each of us. For me, home is where my mother is, the small town where my roots are, the family and friends that surrounds me there.

I have been "away" from home for 20 years, and it never gets any easier to leave when I visit there. David and I have a lovely home here too, with a house which is a work in progress, and careers that are in transition. But this place still doesn't feel like home. All my prized possessions are here, but my people are not. Luckily I have David, who makes this the closest thing to a "home away from home" for me.

I have been struggling with my identity for a while now. I am unhappy with my career and don't have a lot of friends here in Calgary. I think that plays a huge part in making my life feel unrooted here. We are blessed to have David's family nearby, but since we don't have any children, this still hasn't become my "forever" home. When will it? I wonder if I had a job I love and children if this would become home? Is home identified with place, or a certain person, or both of those things? Is it a feeling and if so what, comfort, a groundedness that can never be taken away from you?
I have many things to tell you about home and about my wonderful people and about other small things like blueberries and walks along the river and about what really makes life good.

Soon, Terri xoxo


  1. Welcome back - good to see you posting.

    Its really hard to make new friends as adults. Have you tried taking a class or joining a club?

  2. welcome back, we missed you!

  3. Welcome back! It sounds like you had time to reflect on what's important to you in life. Maybe some big life changes are around the corner for you! Sometimes life is nagging us right in the behind, trying to tell us to change direction to live life the way YOU want it...I think that's what's happening to you!

    Glad you're back :)

  4. Good to see you, Terri!

    Your parents' home on the river is lovely. Reminds me of the views along the river near Fredricton, NB.

    Now I'm wondering if, once you have it completely analyzed, you could reproduce "home" where you are. Do you need family photos? Family heirlooms? Family recipes for supper? The habits of home?

    Did you have a lot of rain while you were home? I fretted about that!

  5. Hi! Welcome back; I've been looking for you. On the subject of home and what makes an area home...interesting question and point.

    I spent 10 years in the Edmonton area before we moved back to "home". There were people we knew from before, when we lived here. There is quite a bit of family. Now that we've been here for just over a year I can do a bit of reflecting.

    one - children definately are one way to get to know your neighbours and neighbourhood. With small children especially. I knew everyone where we lived when the kids were young and some stayed my friends. then again, I'm from a military community and I think we tend to stretch our arms out in welcome much sooner than communities who have kept their residents for a long time.

    It took 10 years to feel like I belonged in Edmonton but it didn't feel like home.

    We have seen much more of the family since moving back. Mostly on special occasions like birthdays, Easter, xmas, etc. We do pop in to see his parents and his live-near-by siblings once in a while. But those friends we had? Aside from a yearly hello that's about it. They continued with their lives while we were gone - one that does not include us. I have yet to make my own friends here and it is quite lonely. I did work for 2 months and had started to make some friends but I quit my job. Only so much crap I'll take for $8/hour!

    I like the area we live in and I love being close to the coast. It is nice to have family close by and to be able to pop in for special occasions. I still am looking forward to getting on with my own life and creating my own circle though. that is what I miss the most from out west.

    My best friend lives out west still. I find as you get older and your family passes on that your closest friends become more like family. In fact, I have no contact with part of my family, at my choice and theirs.

    It will be interesting to read what your views are on these matters and others.

  6. Welcome back Terri, I missed u.

    Home is always home and will always be..

    Much Love

  7. hello i am from portugal and i use to see your blog and i like it very much,i hope that you find the way to feel complete and happy.

    wish you luck.

  8. i apologise for bad english.

  9. Welcome back Terri :)

    I like your way of thinking and I hope that you one day will find your "home". Whether that means going back home, having a family or whatever it is for you :)

    To me, home is more about the people around me. People that I love :) But it also depends on the occasion/situation. Am I staying here a few months? A year? A few years?

    In the end though I think that we all have to come to a conclusion. Some places just aren't home and seemingly were never meant to be either.

    I've been able to make many places home (moved 32 times) but now with my son it's harder because I'm more on the lookout for his sake rather than my own.

    But I know where you are coming from and I also want a real home :)

    Hope you get there one way or another :)

    Hugs, Susanne

  10. That is a good question--what makes a place a home. It is funny because when my hubby and I were looking for a house nothing felt like a home for us until we walked into our present home. We have lived in this home for about 14 years. But it felt like a home to us, not just a house. It had the old creeky wood floors, fireplaces, old pane windows (which we had to replace), lots of built in bookcases, a stairway, some tongue and grove ceilings etc. Somehow the oldness and the imperfections made it feel home to us. Also we live in the older section of town--we love to walk in it and walk down to the little coffee shops and restaurants.There is a river that goes through town and big old evergreen oaks and magnolias. We have found a church within walking distance and made good friends there---all of this has rooted us and made us feel at home. But I guess, different things make different people feel at home....I think some of it is family, friends, church, and a contentment with your surroundings.

  11. Hallo Terri! Welcome back, I have missed you. I also read your post about the nursing home and got very moved. I admire you that you will have the time and the strengt to become a volontaire. Sadly I have to say I do not have the energy after a hard day at work. I work full-time which is the same as 40 hours a week here in Sweden and I guess you work the same amount of hours in Canada. Will you manage?

    Your thoughts about home are interesting. I have been living in the same town all my life and I have my parents nearby. So I have never been forced to find a home in a new place. But lately I have started to feel that I need to move and try to build up a new life (together with the husband of course). A life in a small town and with my parents watching over me - sometimes I feel captured. So maybe my problem is the opposite from yours. :)
    We do not have any children so we are free to move tomorrow. But life never is that easy. We have to find new places to work at and our parents are getting older.
    And maybe a new home never will feel like home, as you say... I do not know.


  12. Shucks - I hope you're liking Calgary a bit more. I used to stay there a lot near Eau Claire Market when my fiance was working there. I am from the states. I loved the park by the river ... and the zoo. And the shops. And restaurants. And China Town. Who needs friends? LOL