Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Home Is Wherever I'm With You

Last week the lovely folks over at dogvacay.com asked me to write a post about what I consider my "home away from home." For some people I guess this is pretty easy: a cafe you like to write in, a family vacation home, a favorite corner of the local library. But if you're someone who moves frequently, like I am, it's hard to find a special place where you really feel at home. (Although I will say there is one place I can go to wherever I am that provides a certain comfort and familiarity: Starbucks. I know, shameful. But you can't beat it for consistency the world over! A chai latte is the same in London, Barcelona, Geneva, Istanbul, and Moscow. Alas, there is no Starbucks in Yekaterinburg.)

The truth is, there is no one place I consider home anymore. Foreign Service housing (in my limited experience with it) is fairly impersonal - in Yekaterinburg we all had the same furniture, so I could go to another diplomat's house and sit on the exact same yellow-orange nubbly sofa that waited back in my living room (which is a lot worse than seeing the same IKEA bookshelf in your friend's apartment, I assure you). And for the past six months, I've been a traveling nomad, a squatter in my parents' house, and, most recently, holed up in corporate housing.

But despite all that, I don't feel homeless in the slightest. I think it's a wonderful thing to be able to make yourself at home anywhere. And for me, as long as the people I love are nearby, I'm home. Even during the looooong Russian winter, when "home" (aka America) seemed a million miles away and I was sure I'd never see the sun again, I wasn't really homesick. Compared to deployment, when our house felt empty and cold without John there to warm it with his presence, Russia was a cake-walk. One I don't care to repeat, mind you, but still.

So there you have it. My family and friends are my home away from home. Which is a lot better than Starbucks, don't you think?

That. Right there. My home.

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