Thursday, April 30, 2009

A non-humorous home-rant. What!?!?

Unfortunately the shower I just took (the highlight of my busy morning if coffee doesn't count) did not inspire me the way that I was hoping it would (or tweeting about), or at least I didn't come up with anything shower related, which is probably for the best (I was contemplating a whole thing on weird mineral shampoo, but that will have to wait). Feeling lucky, eh?

I did come up with total theft though. Yesterday I was reading up on some new (for me) blog finds and noticed that B of Cuttings on a Blog was writing about something very familiar to me, but not yet made fun of, or ranted about, in this here blog - namely the concept of home. B divides her time between England and Spain (her native land, also check out her Spanish blog Blanca en la Luna if you hablas espaƱol), but has a hard time at the moment really calling either place home. My Issue, though still about belonging in a place and such, is a little different.

(Oh, and in case you haven't already noticed: Warning! Deep and meaningful crap, and possibly some passive aggressive mentions related to grudges from my earlier years.) 

As you know (because you religiously follow my every move in the blogosphere [wow, it is a fokken word] and Twitter, correct?), I haven't lived in Finland for many years, but haven't really adopted any other country either. Still, that doesn't mean I haven't tried. 

In fact, in my roughly five years in Denmark I really, really tried (Oh no, will this be a rant about the in-laws? I hope not!). I learnt Danish, and still probably use it most of all the languages I speak in my daily life, and even passed a regular translation from English to Danish exam at the university (Okay, so they gave me an extra hour to complete, since I'm such a foreigner, but I did not score the 'barely-passed' grade. Patting myself on the back here, since it is too early in the morning to make a toast for and about myself.). It was clear to me that home was on the second floor of that leaky, yet protected building, 50 meters outside of the city border of Copenhagen. No question about it. To me that is.

Many others, the Danes I would meet in my daily life and the ones whose family I had married into ('cepting the hubby of course) would never let me be at home in Denmark, or let me think that I was at least in some way approaching the potential to being one of THEM - a kind of a Dane. Now, I like being a Finn, will always be one, am proud of my nation (apart from the not so mentioned collaboration with the Nazis, or the suicide statistics, or...), but always being thought of as the foreigner (yup, extranjera) was sometimes just too much. Every single summer for five years, when me and the hubby were getting ready to invade my parent's house for a couple of weeks (this is why we now own the 'summer cottage'), people would ask me whether I had been missing home. Note, had been, as if I still lived in Finland. They would ask me whether I was excited about going back home, what I would do at home, when I returned would I be bringing back with me all the stuff I missed from home, yada yada (a fancy etc)... This used to seriously piss me off. Still does.

Nooo. Really. Would never have guessed.

My home is where my books are (Thanks B). My home is where the Hubby is (he comes only slightly second to the books). My home is where I am comfortable enough to take a shit. My home is where my computer is. My home is where my cellphone works. My home is where I myself have to change the sheets (or tell someone exactly how to do this, folding corners is a science after all). My home is where I can hang out in my green bathrobe until noon and then walk around naked while I'm waiting for the hot water to kick in (and freak out guys mowing my lawn in the process. Bonus!). My home is where my green bathrobe is (didn't see that one coming, did you?). My home is where my weirdly-out-of-place collection of religious paraphernalia is. My home is where I feel comfortable enough to leave dirty tissues lying around (apparently my handbag is my home then). My home is where I can make my own coffee, just the way I like it (a sub-branch of the greater science of controlling pointless things) and drink ten cups of it, without getting a lecture on blood pressure and insomnia. Home is where I can drink as much wine as I want to without receiving eye rolls for unbecoming behavior. 

I don't have to speak the language to be at home somewhere, or have spent all of my life there. I don't have to own my home, or even most of the stuff in it. I don't have to know the place like the back of my hand (Has that cupboard always been there? or What brothel across the road?). I don't even have to have a support network of friends - that will come, and hubby is kind of a superDane. 

I just want other people to let me choose where my home is, not for them to assign me one.

(Passive) aggressive enough for you? I feel better at least.    


dutchbaby said...

"Home is where my books are." I love that! Home is Palo Alto and I have no intention of leaving. I've lived in many places and I'm elated here.

I love your writing style - so natural. I can't believe English is not your native tongue.

I would love to ask you some questions about Jo'berg offline. Could you please give me a jingle at my e-mail? godutchbaby at yahoo dot com. Thanks.

iasa said...

I'm back in roughly the same area I started life in. I never consider Texas my home. I am here because my boys father is and I would never take them away from him. But my home is in Belize. only 43 days until i get to go home for a visit, but i'm not counting the minutes or anything.

Extranjera said...

Dutcbaby - Welcome. Hope my advice is worth anything.

iasa - Welcome also. I think I've arrived to the conclusion now that my home just is. Can't really find a better definition.

Always wanted to go to Belize, but went to Guatemala and Panama instead, and now the distance is no longer doable for a weekend getaway...

corticoWhat said...

Reading your blog has forced me to create a mental image of you. I now must never meet you lest you fail to be the lithe goddess in the lacy french apron I imagine you to be. Cheers! :)

An Open Heart said... home is where the heart is, fits. I'm at home reading your blog.....Thanks!

Amanda said...

As a person who grew up in this town and now have moved back to it, home is also an interesting subject for me.

Is home the place where my highschool bedroom was (but is no longer where my parents live); is home where my parents have since moved (in this same town); is home where I now live with my own family (right dowmn the road from my parents' old and new homes)?

I feel like my home is in this community where I am. I don't LOVE my house, I will move from it someday, but I will stay right here, in this same community, my home.

julochka said...

B's post has me thinking about home too, so i'm no doubt likely to post one of these myself soon (quite possibly including a mild rant against the inhospitabilty of the danes as well). i try to remain haughty and snobbish towards them and use their own sarcasm and irony against them whenever possible. oh, and the swearing. i do love that about them, tho'. anyway, i'll go on and on about that on my own blog.

i too agree that my home is where my books are. and where no one complains about how much i drink and of course, it's where i keep the hendrick's (loved by a small handful of people, all over the world). and for me, it's an ancient orange chenille robe with a rather shocking hole in the back of it that i really should fix. oh, and my blankie. yes, i have a blankie. it's in such bad shape, i am able to travel with a small piece of it. so i can sleep.

wow, i'm not even drinking and i'm admitting my darkest secrets here for all to see on your blog (usually i only do that on my own).

anyway, good post and has me thinking, as B's did, about my own conceptions of home. it's something one thinks about when one is living far from where one grew up. even if it's by choice.

julochka said...

p.s. of course blogosphere is a word. i invented it. :-) (and al gore invented the internet.)

B said...

Glad you "stole" this topic from me! :) It's interesting to see how another extranjera sees this. I brought back some more books from Spain last weekend, so I guess England is closer to being home now.
I hate it, hate it, hate it when people in Spain ask me when I'm coming back as in "When are you going to stop this madness of living somewhere else? Stop being a naughty child and come back already?"
Most of my friends cannot believe that I'd actually choose to live outside Spain, and truly think I'm crazy. Maybe I am! Is that such a bad thing?

Extranjera said...

corticoWhat - I don't know whose blog you've been reading. The only thing lithe about me is.. uhm.. actually I don't think there is anything.

An Open Heart - Heart and dirty tissues.

Amanda - I don't think there'll ever be a home for me that is in one place, permanently. I think I'm just going to live out of my purse (the dumping groung of all things disgusting and mysterious) for the rest of my life.

julochka - so looking forward to your rant (and more dirty secrets of course)!

B - I think you should move somewhere really far away and slightly dangerous. My mom has gone from 'what is wrong with living in Finland?' to 'why can't you live in Copenhagen?'. Now she would be okay with me being on the same continent.
Oh, and thanks so much for the idea!

spiros said...

Reading your entry about home made me think about that too (maybe steal your subject for a future blog entry in my blog :).
Having been born and raised in Greece and lived in the US for the past 11 years home is a very fluid thing for me. Even in the US, I have gone from one area to another during that period, living a basically nomadic life. Home as you said is where you are comfortable, but i have noticed that some people dont like that. My parents hate it and are visibly upset if i say that my place in the US is my home, because for them they want me to say that their house is home...My friends here dont want to hear that Greece is home and my friends there dont want to hear that US is home (each for their own reasons i guess). But not having a home, does that make us dettached from our surroundings? When do we settle in a place? Is the nomadic lifestyle a way of running away and not dealing with things about ourselves and others? Is being a "citizen of the world" the modern day version of the flight part from the "fight or flight" instinct?

Extranjera said...

spiros - Go ahead, thieve away. It is already stolen property... ;o)
I'm definitely fleeing from my worst nightmare - routine and familiarity.