Over lunch yesterday, a colleague asked me a simple question: “when are you going home?”
To which I answered, simply, “in a few hours, can’t stay too late today.”
Apparently, I misunderstood. My colleague was asking me about my impending trip to Toronto — my trip “home” — that I have planned later this week.
This small exchange got me thinking: when did my apartment in DC become “home” for me? What exactly makes a place “home” for anybody?
It’s no surprise that it took me quite some time to feel settled here after my move to Washington. For the first month to six weeks, nothing could feel less like home. I was constantly thinking of what — and who — I had left behind in Toronto, planning every minute of my next trip back north.
Today, things have changed. Now, when I think of home, I think of sitting in my leaf chair in my sunroom sipping citron oolong tea and reading The New Yorker. Something has changed, and I’m not quite sure what it is.
What makes your place feel like home? When did you feel like the place where you live right now was truly home?
I’m not sure what made me flip the switch here: it could be when I started having visitors over, or when bought that beautiful bronze photographer’s lamp to sit next to my leaf chair. It could be when I started referring to it as “my place” as opposed to “the apartment I’m renting.” It could be when the barista at Greenberry’s started recognizing me and calling me by a nickname. It could be when I bought my first set of daffodils and planted them in my mini-garden on my balcony.
Or, it could be, after all, when I realized that home wasn’t where my memories lived, but instead a place to make new and lasting memories.
I’m still not sure what made my little apartment in Arlington feel like home, but that’s what it is. As much as I miss Toronto, it has become the place “I used to live” but still love. I may move back there one day and find a little place in the Annex or near the Distillery District to live, but until that time, DC is home.
It is the place where I’m making new memories and experiencing new things and gathering new stories to tell.