Home Again, Home Again

I’ve been living abroad for 5 ½, going on six years now, and it’s interesting how my idea of “home” has changed over the years. Initially, when I first moved to Scotland, home was the US and Indiana. And then slowly over the years, as my possessions overseas grew along with my relationships, home somehow also became Edinburgh. Now that the Mr.  and I have moved to Germany, the idea of home has become even more complicated. Can someone have three “homes”?

Indiana will always be one of my homes as long as I have family there. And in some ways, I still feel like Edinburgh is home, too. I suppose that feeling will probably fade the longer we are gone, but it was the city where I spent the majority of my adult life working and living until this point. And now Würzburg is home. Sort of. Some might argue it’s our only home as it’s where the Mr.”s job is, and although 95% of our stuff is in storage somewhere 50 km away at the moment, it’s where the majority of our possessions are kept. But what defines a home? Is it where your job and things are located? Or is it where your friends and family are? For now, I’m finding it a little difficult to think of Würzburg as home since we’re living a bit like nomads and we have no friends or family here. And yet, when we returned from Italy on Tuesday, it did feel in a way like we were coming home.

Living abroad or traveling, it’s not uncommon to be asked, “Where are you from?” as soon as it’s clear you’re not local. The response used to be that I’m from the US, the Mr. is from Germany and we live in Scotland. Now that we’re living in Germany and the Mr. is German we’ll probably get asked that question less, but somehow I feel torn when explaining where I’m from. Although I was born and raised in the US, I somehow also want to acknowledge that I’ve lived in Scotland for the last 5 ½ years and not the US. True, 5 1/2 years is not that long to live away from the US, and yet my outlook on life and the way I see the world has undoubtedly also been shaped by my experiences living in the UK. And yet to explain all this to someone who probably just wants a simple answer is not really possible.

Italy was beautiful. Although I was a bit worried about driving on the Autobahn to get there, once we got past Munich and into Austria it was less crazy. Thankfully Austria is a very sensible country with speed restrictions in place. Limone was absolutely gorgeous nestled in the mountains on Lake Garda and I couldn’t believe that it was actually as pretty as the images on the internet. Our hotel was very nice and very affordable considering the amazing views you get of the lake. Someday I’ll add photos I took of our room and the grounds. I have a feeling it’s probably pretty packed with guests in the summer, but we practically had it to ourselves which made it really peaceful and relaxing. The Mr. went swimming in the indoor pool every day and he had it to himself each time.  I wish I could say we had sunshine and blue skies every day we were there, but we only had two days of really good weather and one day that was absolutely dismal. We spent our time exploring a few of the towns around Lake Garda and also drove to Verona. We checked out “Juliet’s balcony,” or at least the balcony of a home that supposedly belonged to the Capulet family.

Casa di Giulietta Verona

It was tourist trap in many respects, but still fun to visit and the Mr. snapped a photo of me on the balcony (not me in the photo, however…I’m striking a dreamy Juliet pose, I believe!)  Our stay in Italy finished, we drove back to Germany to the country inn near Ulm where the Mr.’s family gathers each year for Easter. I enjoyed seeing his family, but somehow I always find it a little exhausting. The family meets over the course of three days, which is nice but is longer than any extended family gathering I’ve ever attended. Because they spend so much time together over these three days, I find myself getting frustrated and feeling a little isolated by the end as most of the conversation is obviously in German. It has gotten better as I can now understand key words here and there so I can often get a basic idea of what’s being discussed, but three days is still a long time to not really be part of the conversations happening. I hope that by next year I will have taken an intensive language class and the weekend will be more enjoyable.

And now we’re back in Würzburg. Well, Höchberg to be specific. Mia meowed quite a bit the evening we picked her up from the cat hotel and a little the next morning, but she seems to be back to normal. The search for a flat or house continues. While we were away, we missed out on a couple of things that potentially could have been good, but now we simply have to be very focused and not miss any other opportunities. Who knows…maybe “home” will feel more like home once we have a structural one of our own.


About bittenbythebug

I love travel and have always been fascinated by other cultures. Back in 2004, I began my life as an expat in Edinburgh, Scotland. Fast forward 5 1/2 amazing years later to 2010 and the new chapter in my expat adventure: Würzburg, Germany.
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6 Responses to Home Again, Home Again

  1. Lindsey says:

    Great post, Holly. Your Italian holiday sounds amazing. Maybe it’s good to go away a bit so that when you return to Germany it does feel a bit like home. The intensive German language course sounds challenging but exciting. Good luck!

  2. cliff1976 says:

    But what defines a home? Is it where your job and things are located? Or is it where your friends and family are? For now, I’m finding it a little difficult to think of Würzburg as home since we’re living a bit like nomads and we have no friends or family here. And yet, when we returned from Italy on Tuesday, it did feel in a way like we were coming home.

    I’m sure that’s a good sign. I am reading through your posts doing a lot of fond reminiscing with a fair amount of grimacing in recognition. Looking forward to more.

    • Hi, Cliff – nice to meet you (electronically, anyway!) Now that I have internet again I’m planning to explore the expat bloggers in germany forum and the discussions about the upcoming blogger meetup. Sounds like a great idea!

  3. Pingback: Buying Time « The Grass is Always Grüner

  4. Tony says:

    I like your description of home – although not for everyone is the same. I am Italian and I lived most of my life in Canada and yes I feel that Canada is as much a home as my own town in central Italy is. I am 5th generation living in a breath-taking little town called Pofi in “ciociaria” I hope someone understands which area is nicknamed ciociaria, and the people are nicknamed ciociari.
    I can guaranty that if some lady is looking to write a book can visit and title the book, under the Pofi sun. NO NEED TO GO TO TUSCANY.
    And buy a place in this medieval town founded over a 1000 years ago.
    Pofi is on a hill surrounded with a view of some 20 towns all around and the appennine mountains on east and another chain west.
    Agripofi Restaurant.

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