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18 September 2013

'Cause they say home is where your heart is set in stone
Is where you go when you're alone
Is where you go to rest your bones
It's not just where you lay your head
It's not just where you make your bed
As long as we're together, does it matter where we go?
{from Gabrielle Aplin - Home}




Our recent move has made me think about this even more than usual. 

I have always struggled with this identity crisis. When I was 8 going on 9, our family of four moved from Tokyo to London. I knew next to no English, but I went straight into a normal English school, and since I was so young I became fluent with the language in about 2 years. 




Since then, I've lived in England all my life, apart from spending 3 years studying for my Masters degree in Austria, which I finished just a few months ago.

The thing is, being brought up in a country that is not my own has always made me feel as though I have one foot in one place and one foot in another. I've never felt like I truly belonged to one country or one culture. When I visit Japan, I feel like a foreigner. When I am in England, I feel at home and like a native, but with a niggling feeling at the back of my mind that reminds me I am not. 




I say this as though it's a disadvantage, and I absolutely don't believe that it is. I feel lucky and privileged and so thankful that this has been my path. It's just that sometimes, that comfort of being on your true home soil and the sense of belonging that you feel deep in your bones, it feels elusive and out of reach.

But I think that this is my chance to make my life my home. 



15 comments:

  1. I thought this was a really lovely post, and you're definitely lucky that you've managed to spend some time in several places. I bet it was scary when you first moved to Japan though.

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    1. we actually moved from Japan to England, and I think it was scary but I was probably too young to consciously realise how stressed I was. I'm grateful for that! x

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  2. Somebody else who loves Gabrielle Aplin!? Ah, I knew I recognized those lyrics! LOVE all of her songs. Such a pretty voice and great lyrics too :)

    www.amemoryofus.blogspot.com

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    1. yes!! she is a gorgeous singer. x

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  3. After more than 4 years in the UK, I always feel like a stranger whenever I go back to France for the holidays (even though that's where I was born and raised). It just changes so much I find! and so quickly. I never feel like the UK is properly home either though. I guess it's all about settling down and creating lots of little traditions that you associate with your home. I'm sure the new flat will help! xx

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    1. you're so right, everything changes (including yourself) at such a fast pace, it's impossible to keep up and to always adapt. and I agree with you, i think it's about creating what you call home from your own day to day lifestyle. x

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  4. Quite a thought provoking post. I've lived in London for four years now and although it's become home with my husband, I still refer to my hometown as home too!

    Also, I can see my office in your pictures ;)

    Kam x | A Married Couple & Their Travels

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    1. really?! i promise i wasn't stalking ;) i think to some extent a lot of us share this feeling, which is comforting. x

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    2. Yeah it's the building behind the bus! x

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  5. I love this SO MUCH. My version is a little bit different though; while I never experienced a crazy move when I was little, I did go to university across the US from my family, and have spent a year and a half in Angers, France. It's so strange, each represents a little world that I had, I had a "home" in each one, but no matter where I am I feel like I'm missing something, something that can only be found in those other homes. Making life your home is seriously such a stunning way to put it...I'm totally going to follow suit<3

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    1. yes, that feeling of something missing is such a good way of putting it. i guess we are just lucky that we have pieces of ourselves in lots of different corners and times x

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  6. i think i can relate! i moved from korea when i was 7 going on 8 to the us. definitely have been living with feet in two worlds!

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  7. Actually, I think that that's a common thing among TCKs - I grew up between Thailand and the US, and only since college really have I begun to be able to properly identify which of my behaviors and beliefs pertain to which culture and the little things that have always made me feel out of place in each. You can never really fully belong anywhere - but at the same time, ultimately we're lucky that we can at least kind of belong everywhere!

    http://lasaloperie.blogspot.com

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  8. I just happened to find your blog and this post really resonated with me. I grew up in the US (was there until I graduated high school) and moved to Japan to attend college and have been here since. English has and always will be my main language, and the US will always be my "home," but I agree with your words--"being brought up in a country that is not my own has always made me feel as though I have one foot in one place and one foot in another." It's not necessarily a bad thing, as you say, but it has brought along with it a huge identity crisis. I'm a Japanese-American but I look Japanese so there will always be something attached to anything that defines me ("Asian"-American, "Japanese"-American, etc.) On the other hand, I'm so Americanized that I sometimes feel like a foreigner in Japan, where I look like everyone else on the outside. I'm sure you can totally relate to this though!

    Anyway, I suppose that in the end, "home" is where you want it to be. It's not about countries or nationalities. It's about where you feel the most comfortable and at peace.

    Miwa @ www.cranesandclovers.com

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    1. thank you for your comment! it definitely makes me feel less alone to read words like yours. And I'm so glad you stopped by because now i've found your blog! x

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