1. a house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of aperson, family, or household.
2. the place in which one's domestic affections are centered.
I got ill this week. What started off with a scratchy throat on Sunday evening turned into a full blown coughing, sneezing, watery-eyed cold by the Tuesday, which left me feeling very sorry for myself with no one to look after me and had me questioning why I ever moved out in the first place. Yes I was sick but, even worse, I was homesick.
It wasn't just the cold - there were definitely other seemingly insignificant things that led to my homesickness. I've started hesitantly filling in my new address in online forms, I received my first proper piece of post through the door last week and, in a conversation with my Dad at the weekend, it was pointed out that I now refer to London as home. The latter was quickly rebuffed with a half joking "yes but I refer to anywhere with a bed as home."
Half joking because I do. When I board the train a couple of Fridays a month and head back to Bournemouth for the weekend, I say I'm going home. And when I get back on said train (sometimes on a Sunday evening cut short, sometimes on a painfully early Monday morning) I also say I'm going home. I call my Mum's house home and my Dad's house home and the house I've only lived in for two months and share with four other people I don't really know? That gets called home too.
My (now permanent thank god, but more on that later) job is here, in London. A lot of my possessions are here, in London. And I spend approximately 528 hours a month (yes I did some maths) here, in London. But you see, it doesn't feel like my life it here. Not yet. Not when all of the people I love, the ones who feel like home, are all a two-hour train ride away. Which yes, could be worse. In the grand scheme of the big wide world, two hours is miniscule. Yet it doesn't feel that way when you're friends are arranging trips to the cinema via WhatsApp, and you're desperately missing the long gone Monday evening gym class with your Mum and you could really really just do with meeting up with your best friend for dinner after work. If we're doing clichés – which I'd rather not but I seem to have walked straight into one – I suppose home really is where the heart is. Or at least where the plans made via WhatsApp are happening.
In lieu of all the bits I'm missing, I've tried to make this home here in London feel as 'home home' as possible. I've filled my bedroom with prints and more plants than I really know how to take care of, and I've got pretty good at keeping it tidy too.
On the free weekends I do have, I'm trying to get to know London a little better. Or at least well enough to not have to open up Google Maps every time I leave the house. Last Sunday morning I took myself on a walk to Putney. Yes, I may have followed the blue dot to get myself there, but on the way back I made do without and walked back through the park and, on my walk home, I felt incredibly fortunate to live in such a lovely area. In between the there and the back, I found myself in a Waterstones café* with a cup of tea and some raspberry and coconut cake and I felt incredibly content and it almost maybe felt a little bit like home.
*I googled 'café' to check the correct accent direction, and it immediately offered me a selection of cafés in the Bournemouth area and, of course, I promptly burst into tears. Even my laptop doesn't know where home is.