Moving to another country can change the perception upon important aspects of life, such as the meaning of home. In time, you understand that one side of you belongs in the country of residence whereas the other side has never left from the country of origins. Reconciling both sides is very important for maintaining your authentic self.
According to the travel writer Pico Iyer, there are 220,000,000 people around the world who live outside their home countries. I am one of these people. When I moved to Finland, I thought I would experience the Finnish way of living for two years and then I’d return back home.
The working environment based on trust and creative freedom made me stay longer. Twelve years after, my residence is still in Helsinki.
When I travel, people usually ask me, “Where are you from?” I may strike them as a strange person when they see me slightly confused and taking a deep breath before answering.
Sometimes I go ahead with the popular saying, “Home is where I hang my hat.”, so I reply “Finland”. Some other times, I reply “Romania”, because that’s where I find my inner peace and I feel closer to God.
The Finnish language, the emotional distance between people and the architecture of the buildings are a reminder that I am an alien to the city where my life is. Thanks to family and friends, I am an alien who is warmly welcome there.
Yet, now and then, I feel the need to retreat to the place which is my true home. Over here, I feel in alignment with the nature.
I watch the sun hiding slowly behind the horizon and I think, “This was a beautiful day!”
Late at night, I look at the starry sky and my heart beats calmly as if it tunes in with the eternity.
The sounds of birds waking me up in the morning are an inspiration for the day about to start – “There is life out there, wake up to feel it!”.
Over here, I stumble upon some people with an incurable joy of life. Talking with them is the best therapy for the soul.
But after a while, this home of mine feels too small. I feel the need to go back into the big and challenging world and discover uncharted sides of my true self.
Living abroad put into light a new meaning of home – Home is the people and place my soul feels to be around, for a while. My home is my soul.
How about you? What is home for you?