Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Where is home?

It's where the heart is of course, I hear you cry.

But what if home becomes somewhere you never expected it to be? Somewhere you felt utterly ambivalent about as a teenager, or at the other end of the spectrum, somewhere you had only ever imagined in your dreams?

I'm caught feeling both those things at the moment.

When we moved to London in 1999, it was almost a spur of the moment thing. I'd said many a time that I wanted to live in London at some point, but I'd never really gone beyond that thought. Never delved into what it would mean beyond my romantic notions of moonlight walks along the South Bank, regular trips to the theatre and generally living the high life.

Now, 14 years later, we're back in the 'home' we knew as teenagers. Many of the streets have barely changed, while others have been transformed beyond recognition. As I walked down a street this morning which I must have walked along a hundred times or more as a child, my breath caught in my throat. It struck me: Did I ever think I'd walk along this pavement as an adult resident? A local. A grown-up member of the community.

The answer surprised me and yet shouldn't have. I never planned to end up back here when I was 21. I was destined for more glamorous climes, more sophisticated surroundings surely. A small town in the north-east of Scotland definitely did not feature in the dreams of my 21 year old self.

To my over-inflated 21 year old ego, this was a dull town. A narrow minded town with no prospects and no possibilities as far as I was concerned.

I wanted bright lights and excitement, a career to be proud of and social life to make my mind spin. So off to London we trotted. On a whim and a flimsy job offer that I'd never expected to receive. But we grabbed it with both hands and left our dusty past behind us.

But isn't it funny how children change your perception of the world? There are fewer experiences more grounding than giving birth. Sleepless nights are a great leveller I've found. My ideas of grandeur were soon reduced to more realistic proportions with a baby in tow.

London started to lose it's allure. It still sparkled like a precious gemstone in my mind's eye, but my heart knew that at least some of that sparkle was just for show. It become more cubic zirconia than diamond. Beautiful but boastful, charming but with an edge of brashness. It didn't fit into our dreams of the future any more. Or maybe we didn't fit anymore (certainly not into our 2 bedroom flat that's for sure).

Space, freedom, fresh air and a yearning for the simple things became our holy grail. Where could we find such a life? We had we experienced such a life?

Home. That's where. The home of our childhood. Fourteen years ago, we never dreamt we'd end up back here. But it became our dream location. It became our pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, our fairytale ending.

I guess, sometimes you have to leave in order to appreciate what you had. You have to put a place behind you, leave it in the past, before you can look at it with eyes fresh with experience.

Maybe we just grew up. Or maybe we were always meant to come full circle. Back home. To Scotland. Where our hearts have always been.


  1. I know and have experienced all of these feelings as we did the same as you, although we still have a massive mortgage!

    1. Glad I'm not the only one to feel this way Jen. We were just incredibly lucky to get on the housing ladder in London when we did otherwise we wouldn't be mortgage free now. I still think it's crazy that a 2 bed flat in London costs more than a 4 bed house up here!


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