Where I try to define where is home but get side-tracked by identity and Charlie

{Sometimes things just need to be vented out. I thought I was doing something but then these things just caught up with me. And I had to push till the end of it, through the tears that were burning my eyes and in spite of the final roughness of this piece of writing. Emotions took over me, emotions that I thought I now had in control. I’m on my way back from a long travel that took me to France and to other places I’ve called home at some point of (my) history. A trip that I thought would help me solve some of the “home equation” and that allowed face to face discussions of the painful memories with my friends who had been in my thoughts and my Facebook messenger the previous year and a half (more than ever before), which is what I probably anticipated the most for my healing process. But considering the amount of crying I went through during the writing of the second part of this, I still have a lot of healing left to do.}
{there is a lot going on in the links. Things that I didn’t want to spell out for concision, or because it hurt too much}
Is home the same thing as where one comes from?

In the many years and places I have lived outside of my birthplace, I have often heard questions such as “when are you going back home?” or “don’t you miss home too much?” and it has always seemed unexpected of me to call the place where my actual home is, “home”. I mean, yes I come from France. But does that prevent the house where I live in another country from being where I feel at home? If I’m correct about the original English meaning of the word, that’s really what it means: the place where I sleep and eat and shower and relax and have friends over, and cook and do my washing and so much more, is home. Where else in the world could home be, I ask you?

I have lived in Tonga for 3.5 years, most of that time in the same house with the same landlords and neighbours and the same Chinese falekoloa (local grocer) around the corner. I had no obligation to stay in that house at all or even in the country after the initial 2 years I had come for, and if I didn’t feel like this was home, I would not have stayed. As I have done all my adult life. But I chose to remain in Tonga because I feel at home in Tonga. Now, would I like the falekoloa to be stocked with cheese is an entire other question.

Not exactly my hood, but close enough

Do all French people miss cheese when they are not in France? I don’t think so. Some don’t even like it. I personally don’t smoke, don’t like wine and don’t drink black coffee and it doesn’t make me any less French – a whole lot less stereotypical to foreigners, yes. I don’t really miss cheese either. Not that I’m not going to gorge on it as soon as an occasion arises, but I don’t miss it daily. Not having cheese in your fridge comes with the choice of living overseas. Would I love it if brie was readily available in Tonga and at a decent price? YES! Would I feel offended if it were a small, tasteless, pasteurized, chewy dairy product from Australia/ New Zealand and presented to me as a French product? Yes!

Can cheese be part of one’s identity?

Continue reading Where I try to define where is home but get side-tracked by identity and Charlie