Where Is Home To You?

A friend reminded me yesterday that six years ago I was naturalised as a British citizen. After a lot of paperwork, expense and studying for a test called ‘Life in the UK’ that was frankly challenging even after living in this country since the age of 2, I was naturalised at a ceremony in Wandsworth. For years, as I passed through immigration with my Australian passport, the officer would ask me how long I’ve lived in the UK and that I should really get a British passport. But something stopped me for many years. I can’t explain why – maybe it was clinging onto that bit of my parents’ heritage. Eventually as I entered the world of employment and grew tired of explaining my permanent residency permit, I realised it was much easier this way.

But today I got thinking about that naturalisation ceremony six years ago and how it always makes me think about where I consider to be my home. For some of my friends, they grew up in the same village as I did and their parents did too so there is no doubt that that is what they consider their home. But for me it’s different. Having just returned from a trip to see my relatives in Melbourne, I feel such a sense of belonging when I am there; not to mention in Hong Kong too, where my Mum is from. I lived in Hong Kong until the age of two, where my parents tell me I was understanding and sometimes speaking Cantonese before we left. It struck me that all three of these places have such a special place in my heart. They are a part of me and even though I don’t visit often, that doesn’t matter one bit.

After coming here at the age of two because of my Dad’s work, we were brought up with a really clear sense of our heritage. Even down to the way we ate dinner each night, always eating together round the table ‘Chinese style’ with the dishes in the centre of the table. I never thought much of it until recently, but I suppose that’s natural. Why would you question something that is such a huge part of you. But when I had Emma, I now understand how hard it must have been for my Mum to engineer having dinner with four kids, 8 years apart…even with just one child, I find it difficult to schedule anything of the sort. When she wants to eat, there’s no delaying it! I’m so thankful for my Mum for doing this though, and it was this time together round the table that I remember for most of my childhood.

When I was pregnant with Emma, I had started to think about ‘home’ and creating a place for us all. Bringing traditions into the family that were our ‘thing’. I’d talk to my other half about his childhood and how he felt about it and together we have a little home that is really special for both the kids. It’s our little place and somewhere for all four of us, which I love. So what is home to me? Home is where all the people I love are, and for me that’s not just one place. Home is spending lazy weekend morning together in Brighton, it’s gathering at my parent’s house for a special occasion, it’s Melbourne, Hong Kong and perhaps more to come in the future too. Because it’s the people around me that make it and I can only hope that this is something we give Emma and James too.

What does home mean to you? 

A Mum Track Mind

22 Comments

  1. January 7, 2017 / 9:28 am

    Aw this is lovely, and well put. For me home is where the heart it. And as you’ve said that can move around the world. Not quite the same, but my dad actually lives in Hong Kong now and we love it there, and when we visit that’s home for the two weeks. What a lucky little lady Emma is having such an international family – the world is her oyster! x

  2. Anita McGrath
    January 7, 2017 / 4:31 pm

    You have given a meaningful definition of home. Home is happy family no matter where we are .

  3. January 8, 2017 / 6:54 am

    What a lovely post with a real sense of being, traditions and heritage. To me home always meant Norfolk, where I’m from, but now with husband and daughter, home could be anywhere as they are my home. Would also like to make Italy home one day 🙂 #fortheloveofblog

  4. January 8, 2017 / 8:17 pm

    Aww this was s sweet, really made me smile. I agree, while our house is ‘home’ becuase it’s where I live with my husband and children, I also always think of ‘home’ when I think of my Mum. It doesn’t matter where she lives, either. Where ever she is is ‘home’. xx #fortheloveofBLOG

  5. January 8, 2017 / 9:24 pm

    Ah I read this post through your Facebook link a few days ago but didn’t have time to comment! I didn’t know all this about you – what amazing traditions and cultures you can educate your daughter about! I love the personal blog posts – for me home is wherever you feel most relaxed, which I guess is more about the people than the actual place x

  6. January 8, 2017 / 10:30 pm

    Another lovely post. The people around us are so important and as long as we realise and cherish that, we could be anywhere really. It’s great that you have they sense of heritage and such lovely memories with your family too. I’m sure that will continue in your own little family now too. #fortheloveofBLOG

  7. January 9, 2017 / 9:53 am

    Aww this is lovely and home us definitely where you are with the ones you love. I love the idea of family traditions – so important. We too love to eat together as a family and something that has become much easier as the children have become older – mealtimes are a great coming together of the family even if for only a short time – but mealtime chats are the best! Love that picture of Emma in front of the door – stunning #postsfromtheheart
    justsayingmum recently posted…Respecting “No”My Profile

  8. January 9, 2017 / 10:43 am

    My dad was in the air force. We moved around every two or three years. I think home is more a feeling of being than a place sometimes. Thought it can be a feeling of being in a place.. if that makes sense. #postfromtheheart

  9. January 9, 2017 / 2:14 pm

    A lovely read, and really thought provoking and so whilst I sit in peace for a minute with my cuppa it has really got me thinking. I have lived in the Paris suburbs for the last 2 years (we have one more to go). We moved here from the UK when my son was 10 months, and I was pregnant. So my daughter was born here and my son has lived here longer than he did the UK. I socialise with expats almost exclusively which brings with it a wonderful mix of cultures and experiences. But as a consequence I feel like in some ways I am losing mine (shopping centres have become “malls” as one example I noticed just this morning), and I don’t really know where home is – beyond a very strong feeling of it being wherever my little family unit of 4 may be. It may be rather corney; but home is, indeed, where the heart is. #PostsFromTheHeart

  10. January 9, 2017 / 4:13 pm

    Well put Bridget! I am a naturalised South African and now living in the UAE so can totally relate. With two small boys I am not avidly trying to create and nurture those things that are uniquely ours and define us as a family – no easy task! #PostsFromTheHeart

  11. January 9, 2017 / 9:30 pm

    I can really relate to this post. I guess because like you, home for me is different places. The place I grew up, the place I went to university and first discovered who I was, the place I got my first teaching job and lived in my own home and of course where I live now with my own family. For me I think home is what’s inside me – the multiple particles that make us us, and of course as you so rightly say the place where our loved ones are. Thank you so much for linking up with #PostsFromTheHeart

  12. January 10, 2017 / 2:35 pm

    Home isn’t one place for me either – as a forces child we moved every two years. I agree home is where the people you love are #postsfromtheheart
    Crummy Mummy recently posted…A last letter to my GrannyMy Profile

  13. January 10, 2017 / 4:24 pm

    This is an interesting question! Back in October I passed the mark. I have been in the UK for 18 years, I came when I was 18 so officially, I’ve been here the longest. I still don’t have citizenship. Not sure I want it, only because it’s money and hassle. Like you, I guess I have several homes. My home in Germany was part of the old East. Everything has changed, even though I left well after the wall fell, more has changed since. And I get a really mixed feeling of good and bad when I’m there. I feel I have experienced so much since leaving and I have grown. When I’m back there, apart from my family, everyone still sees me as I was all those years ago. I love going to see my family and closest friends, anything else there does feel very strange.

  14. January 12, 2017 / 8:23 am

    Home is wherever you feel most comfortable. It’s not just one place. It could also be somewhere that you didn’t even live that long but you have such good memories. I think it’s lovely to have so many home influences.

    Sally @ Life Loving
    Life Loving recently posted…Winter Hair CareMy Profile

  15. January 12, 2017 / 8:06 pm

    You know my mum just asked this same question on Facebook today which is why I was drawn to your post when I came across it on #stayclassymama. I know it’s not quite the same but my mum moved to Wales in May after living in the south East of England all of her life. She loves it in Wales but really misses us all and is finding it weird to call her new house in Wales her home. I guess there’s no reason why home can’t be more than one place though. Actually I think you’re really blessed if you have more than one place to call home because it means that you feel like you really belong in different places with different people and that makes both you and my mum really lucky in my eyes because we live in a world where some people struggle to feel like they truly belong any where.

  16. January 12, 2017 / 9:38 pm

    Such a lovely post. If my husband’s visa situation gets sorted out next year (long story) I’m considering getting naturalised as a British citizen too – I’ve been living here for 11 years and it might be time to fully embrace my adopted country. I feel like I have two homes – the Long Island town where I lived until I went to uni – and Glasgow. While I’ve lived in other places, those are the two places I’ve lived the longest, and I always feel something relax in me whenever I arrive in either – like…well, I’m coming home. #StayClassyMama
    Squirmy Popple recently posted…My toddler controls my lifeMy Profile

  17. January 13, 2017 / 8:35 am

    Absolutely home is where the people you love are. I am from York but live in Norfolk now and for years I still had ‘home’ in my phone as my parents house, and ‘home norfolk’ as my house! Then my parents moved from our family home and I made the plunge to change their phone number to ‘mum and dads’ and moved ‘home norfolk’ to just ‘home!’ But when we go up north like at Christmas, I still refer to it as home! I suppose I have more than one home too. xx #postsfromtheheart

  18. January 13, 2017 / 9:43 pm

    How fantastic to hear more about your heritage.I call Blackpool my home though it’s taken many years to admit that. We moved away for 10 years but found ourselves drawn back and we are happier than ever in our home town.My parents still live in the house I grew up in so it’s lovely to visit them as I have such happy memories#PostsFromTheHeart

  19. January 13, 2017 / 10:55 pm

    Love this – I was born in London by a dad who is half Greek and half Scottish and a mum who is half English and half Irish. My best friends were Turkish and American, and we lived in a tight knit community where my neighbours were Ghanaian, Colombian, Italian and Nigerian. I feel like I am a product of all of those places. Home for me is so many places – it’s the tiny flat I share in London with my husband and daughter, it’s my nan’s house in Sussex near the beach, it’s pretty much any beach in fact, it’s Glasgow and it’s vibrant personality, it’s a tiny village in North Cyprus called Balalan, it’s the windy west coast of Scotland, the tiny alleys of Edinburgh, the unmistakable smell of jollof rice wafting through an open window, it’s a thanksgiving meal with a texan twang… Lovely post #PostsFromTheHeart

  20. January 15, 2017 / 10:49 am

    I think it’s lovely that you feel at home in so many different places. ‘Home’ doesn’t have to be one place, or a particular house 🙂 #stayclassymama

  21. January 16, 2017 / 1:03 am

    Beautiful post, and bella, those pics! #stayclassymama

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