Big M when he was a Little M
at our old house.
This weeks Thursday Theme is "home".
I almost didn't want to post on this subject because I find it quite a difficult one, but figure the challenge is good and might be somewhat cathartic... or something...
Anyway, I struggled for years to know where my home was and I thought I had made peace in recent years with having my heart in a few places. But I think the earthquake in Christchurch New Zealand last month has brought up some rawness for me so maybe that is why I was reluctant to write on this topic.
I was born and raised till 12 in the deep south of New Zealand. It was a good place to grow up, with regular visits to family and friends who lived on farms and cold dips in rivers and the beach. We had lots of rain and cold down there but there is something hearty about that. I have heard people say New Zealand is like a 1950's England. I'm not sure about that, but I do think the town I grew up in was about 20 years behind everywhere else. Possibly still is.
At 12 my parents moved to the UK and settled in a lovely place in the county of Hertfordshire. It took me years to appreciate it because I was always longing to go back to NZ, but I ended up having a great few teen years there and had experiences I treasure, and know that I could never have had if I stayed in New Zealand.
During my formative teenage years in England I also had a bit of a turbulant time and left school early and my parents house soon after. I stayed with a friend and her mum for a while but then moved to another friends with her dad for a few months until I left there and ended up (somehow) on a canal boat. The boat became my base and the rest of the time I was traveling around festivals. It was during this time that I met some good people who had an old 1978 Bedford truck that converted into a stage. They travelled from festival to festival with many bands playing on that wooden fold out deck, and were very well known amongst the New Age traveller scene of the 80's and 90's. I loved being with these guys. The boaty canal people I was living with were not so great but The Stage people and who I met through them were very special to me.
But soon after turning 18 I had a moment of inspiration to save some money and go back to New Zealand, so I did.
After a bit of back and forwarding between different towns and countries, and visting some new places I settled into Christchurch and met and married Sam. I stayed there for 10 years and then we moved to Melbourne. Which is where I am typing this. This place is my home now, just like those other places I have mentioned are home, or were.
I don't feel anymore that the place I grew up in is home. Though it will always be of special significance. Sam & I plan to take our kids there one day (as part of a South Island tour to show them where our ancestors arrived on ships and set up towns etc). But I do not have family there any more and only minor contact with friends. I have moved on.
I still think of the area my family live in England as home. And I feel comfortable there. Culturally it's a big part of me. But its has been a long time since I lived there too. And now with us being (almost) a family of 5, it is too expensive to go back for visits. I wish sometimes that I still lived there, but reality is I have a southern hemisphere family now and I am the only one who can easily get in and out of the UK. And as much as I love Britain, I don't want to raise my kids there.
Although I was of 'no fixed abode' during my mid teens, the time I spent with travellers and festival people was home to me. Those people felt like family and so much of how they lived and their values resonates deeply within me still.
Christchurch is home. I have family and friends there and I lived there in that one city for longer than I have anywhere else except for those first 12 years of my childhood. I even owned my first 'home' there, and had my first child there. It is also a beautiful place and I have learnt that the enviroment around me has a lot to do with how at peace I feel. But we did decide to leave it with the possibility of never living there again.
Now we are in Australia. And I do not know for how long. The option of moving back to Christchurch seems to be out of the question. Not impossible but probably not a good thing to do anytime in the next few years.
We could stay here forever but I'm not sure we will. I miss New Zealand.
This is where I want to be right now, but I would like some things to be different. I like it here but I don't love it.
Time will tell.
Although it bothered and confused me for years I guess I'm not so bothered now with needing to know where my home is.
It comes down to is that old saying "home is where the heart is".
And mine right now is here in our house with my fellas.