1 December 2012


I'm going home in a couple of weeks. In 12 days, 7 hours and 33 minutes in fact. 

Not that I'm counting. 

Home is Oz but I have not lived there for a long time. I am traveling back on the Yellow Brick Road. I live here now - in Singapore. I am only going back to Oz for three weeks. To spend Christmas there. It will be nice. I'm looking forward to seeing my old friends and my family and I am looking forward to the wide open spaces. Singapore is such a small island. It constrains me. I sometimes feel suffocated here.

My parents are getting very old. Every time I go back I am shocked at how old they seem. Time isn't being kind to them. Time is their enemy. 

Mine too.

Home is a nice word and it's a nice place. Home conjures warmth and familiarity and comfort. They say it's where your heart is. I'm not sure about that. Who are these 'They' and what do they know of my heart?

I travel a lot and I seem to always be on the move. I live as a stranger in a strange land and what an odd little world it is. Where I reside now - here in Singapore - is in a tiny little apartment. I often feel it is filled with nothing but myself and it sometimes feel heavy. Occasionally it feels crushing even though there is emptiness.

I often contemplate whether home is people or is it a feeling? Is home an urge? Is it a desire? Perhaps it is not in fact a place. It might simply be an irrevocable condition. A state of mind. I think my home is maybe just somewhere that my habits have a habitat. 

It is a place of acceptance.

I am sure that the occasional ache for home lives in all of us, particularly in we roaming expatriates. It is the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned and not be challenged. Home is a security blanket. It is a comfort zone. Home is where somebody notices when you were no longer there. 

When I left my home so long ago and I wandered far afield. I often thought, ‘I want to go home.’ But then I go home and of course it’s not the same. I can’t live with it and I can’t live away from it. There is always this yearning for some place that doesn’t exist. I feel this all the time. I am never completely at home anywhere anymore. Yet I grow weary of this nomadic life. 

What I notice the most when I return home after not being there for a while is how much the trees have grown around my memories. I guess in this life's journey we actually come and go from many homes. We may leave a house, a city, or even a room, but that doesn't mean that those places leave us. Perhaps we never entirely depart the homes we make for ourselves in the world. I think they follow us. Like shadows. Until we stumble upon them again. They lay in wait for us in the mist. We people adapt though. We change. We inevitably grow where we are planted and then we uproot and plant ourselves again. 

Pulvis et umbra sumus

We are but dust and shadows.

Even so. In 12 days, 7 hours and 28 minutes now I can't wait to hear those words. 

Welcome home Peter. 

Welcome home.

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