20 years of living, but the meaning of a lovely home never occurred to me until the day I packed my bag and moved across the globe to study abroad at the age of 18. As a teenager, my definition of home used to be so simple and without much affection attached: home is basically one’s shelter, where you return for food and a safe place to sleep at night. However, the struggle of starting a new home independently, undergoing the stress of living in a new country has shifted the definition of home once and for all. Indeed, it wasn’t until then that I finally realized how meaningful one’s home can be.
Home is where we get the relaxation to enjoy being just ourselves. Under my own roof, I can be the genuine me, we all can. Especially after a long stressful day, nothing can compare with some moment of recharging our energy by falling back to our comfort zone, spending time with the one(s) that make us feel the most secure. Not only just through verbal expression but also, a home can reflect one’s characteristics quite well from the way we select, decorate and organize our personal space. Hence, it is certainly where I can be the most ‘me’.
As much as parties and gatherings, home is also a place where memories are created and maintained. Right at the corner of the room was where my best friend got wasted and started dancing. In another side of the room reflecting the image of the people I called ‘family’ chilling with Netflix on a lazy Saturday night. This might explain why I dislike the act of moving out, fading away a whole period of your life while struggling to build and adapt to a new living environment, and making new memories.
And of course, the notion of home would be incomplete without the people who help constructing that enjoyable sense of belonging. The ones who make our life memorable, the ones who co-create our living space, the ones helping us pick out the smallest piece of decoration for our living room. They can be our family, a group of friends from the university, or even our significant others. Especially when we just started to experience a whole new chapter of life, such as moving out, which can be tough and lonely. The meaningful notion of a ‘sweet home’ for me definitely has my favorite people in the picture.
Moving away does create homesickness, and I definitely miss my old home. Nonetheless, I enjoy my current living space in Rotterdam as well. As I said, happiness sparks from ‘home’ is constructed, as long as you have the spirit and the right people by your side.
Author: Rachel Nguyen
Editor: Gwendolyne Cheung
Illustrator: Hanh Tran