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Pictures of home

Posted in Life & Love

dog mug
My favorite mug

I found my favourite mug just where I left it, on the shelf with the all the other cups I never use. I had plopped down my suitcase at the top of the stairs, inhaling the smell of home, rather musty after five days with the windows shuttered.

Ottie and Portia ran circles around the spot where I keep their water bowl: their way of asking me to replace it with fresh fare. The mail sat stacked on the counter, surrounded by the bags of food and leftovers I had brought back. Frankly, the thought of going out to a movie, that seemed such a great idea on the drive back from the desert, held no appeal.

The clothes and the mail and the food could all wait. I reached for my favourite mug, lit the kettle and made myself some tea. Perched on the couch, I looked around: the yellow roses that has sucked up all the water and were now fading; the blanket I cover myself with on particularly cold days neatly folded; the counters free of clutter; the tv remote controls hidden away. Everything was the way I left it. Everything felt familiar and comforting – even the champagne stain on the ceiling, from a popped cork all those years ago, we never bothered repainting. Even that bit of missing grout I keep on threatening to replace. Even the fancy fridge I insisted on and that has now decided to stop dispensing ice. It’s home and, between sips of tea, I let that feeling of belonging wholly to a place wash over me.

The faded roses
The faded roses

I spent years, no, decades, in grim, then less grim and finally pretty apartments that were always temporary no matter the things I bought to make them more comfortable. No object or plant or curtain could disguise the impermanence. I would come back from my frequent travels, collect the mail, shove the wash in the washing machine and plot the next activity, whether friends to see or an office to go to. The fridge existed in a time loop of near emptiness, always too big for my paltry meals. Everything felt untouched, by hands or feelings.

Now, I crave home after every single trip. On the plane home from London, I thought of my bed and its unscented sheets; of how good it would feel to sit on the stoop surrounded by the dogs or to step out of the shower and reach for my lavender lotion. I spent years checking in and out of fancy hotels, more at home in a Four Seasons than in my flat. Now no 5 star hotel can hold a candle to the smell of home.

A friend from elementary school I reconnected with while I was in Italy, after a 45 year hiatus, told me that she remembers my childhood home as if it were yesterday. “I close my eyes, and in my mind I can re-enter every room, recall all sorts of details.” I loved that house and, at 19, my parents’ marriage already crumbling, I felt “robbed” of it when they decided to move. That house lived in my dreams for decades; I even went to look at it recently, and I saw geraniums on the balconies. We never had geraniums but it made me happy to know that, whoever lives there now, cares.

Since then, I savored the impermanence of my abodes – they were shelters, not homes. Until now. As much as I still love to travel and find myself in different surroundings, now coming home doesn’t hold any sadness, any “end-of-vacation” feelings. Is it age that has changed me? I prefer to think I found my home again.

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8 Comments

    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      Too kind.

      December 5, 2014
      |Reply
  1. What a timely post! After watching The Wizard of Oz for the umpteenth time recently, I am reminded that there really is no place like home! 🙂

    December 2, 2014
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      Today that it’s raining here, it’s true more than ever.

      December 3, 2014
      |Reply
  2. There is no place like home! Last September I was in Italy for a tour project. I got so homesick for my little country home, my family and pets. I was so happy to be home. I think for me it comes with age.

    December 2, 2014
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      I think with age we develop habits and little routines that bring us comfort and we feel uprooted when they are taken away, even if we are having a whale of a time in Italy!

      December 2, 2014
      |Reply
  3. silvia
    silvia

    Yes I agree with you. After you and your family left THAT house in bologna nothing was the same. And that feeling of not belonging made you become a little wanderer. But it was clear to me that sooner or later you’d find a place that you’d tailor on you as the most beautiful dress. Enters LA, the city that won your heart, where you met the love of you life and there you found your nest. It’s not a fairy tale, but real life with its prices to pay. It took you long to call it home again but it was worth every single step, wasn’t it?

    December 2, 2014
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      Every single one.

      December 2, 2014
      |Reply

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