Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Recently I came home after a long day at work, step by step I approached my ‘home’ – already when I unlocked the front door to the shared apartment building, I became more relaxed. In front of the apartment door, I took a deep breath, entered the apartment, locked it and then it was there again – this feeling of well-being, this freedom and gratitude within ‘my walls’, the familiar view from the windows, the certainty of being able to be undisturbed ‘from the outside’.
At that moment I asked myself when and where I felt this sense of ‘being at home’ most strongly and what it depended on. Looking back, I realized that wherever I lived and stayed or visited people, there were only a few ‘material things’ that I needed to feel ‘at home’. It was rather familiar, be people who lived with me or near me, the opportunity to enjoy nature and culture, and to be mobile ‘without a car’.
And there are also places outside ‘my four walls’ where this ‘feeling of well-being’ appears – after more than thirty years in Vienna, I have taken St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna into my heart and very often I take time in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy for a few minutes the sight of the fascinating architecture of this building and the silence inside the cathedral during a prayer.
It has also happened to me that I felt ‘at home’ in places outside of Austria and Europe where I was for the first time – I still remember very well the feeling of happiness I had when I arrived in Vancouver in June 2018; it felt as if I had already been to this place and I felt safe and comfortable from the first minute on.
For Christian Morgenstern, ‘being at home’ means:
“One is not at home where one has his residence, but where one is understood”.
JU’S 3 QUESTIONS OF THE MONTH
👉When and where do you feel ‘at home’?
👉There are people who have never left their birthplace – do you have a special relationship with your birthplace?
👉What tips would you give to people who suffer strongly from homesickness? Have you ever experienced homesickness yourself?
👩🏽🇦🇹 Bernadette Rosa Schmoigl
My first meeting (2009/10) with Bernadette was through music – I was very impressed when Bernadette spontaneously and beautifully began to sing at an event at the Grandmother Turtle Center in Vienna – I admire Bernadette Rosa for being a woman full of talent and power who always sees the big picture and has a special connection with mother earth – it is very enriching for me to talk to Bernadette about God and the world.
Bernadette studied violin, viola and piano at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and traveled extensively in Europe, North America and India. She has three children and five grandchildren. In her free time, she enjoys singing and playing the organ and other instruments and delves into music therapy.
👩🏽🦱🇺🇸🇦🇹Theresa Slifko Ph.D.
Terri and I met in 2013 in Whittier, California at the body, mind & spirit healing center – it only took some minutes to get into an interesting conversation with Terri about her job and Vienna where she used to work for a while years ago – I admire Terri for her beauty, her openness, courage and engagement in all areas of life and for her gift to motivate others.
Theresa has been a leader in the field of water quality for over 26 years. She manages the Water Quality Laboratory Chemistry Unit at Metropolitan Water District of Southern California – her work has helped to contribute and advance the understanding of contaminants in drinking water and she is committed to safeguarding the public’s drinking water supply.
🧑🏽🦱🇺🇬🇰🇪Sarah Nadala Ndegwa
Sarah and I are connected via social media – she is a beautiful young lady and mum of little ‘Judith’. Sarah grew up in Uganda – when I was in Kenia in 2000, I got to know ‘little’ Judith’s dad Moses with whom I have been in contact since then.
I admire Sarah for her commitment, her creativity and love for humanity and God. She is attending a training for becoming a taylor and is very talented in designing beautiful dresses.
👩🏽Bernadette Rosa Schmoigl🇦🇹
For me, the challenge of writing about “Home” can best be expressed by the poet Friedrich Rückert: “I am lost to the world/ with which I have otherwise wasted so much time/ it has heard nothing of me for so long/ it may well believe that I have died/ it is not at all in my interest/ that it thinks I have died/ I can also say nothing against it/ for I have really died to the world/ I am alone in myself and my heaven/ in my love/ in my song.
I have died to the world’s bustle/ and rest in a quiet place/ I am alone in myself and my heaven/ in my loving, in my song. ”
It wasn’t always like that. I have led a very normal life. I was a child, a teenager, I studied, married, have three children, children-in-law, five grandchildren. Wonderful people, wonderful families. But the truth is, that I am alone. And whether I feel that as tragic, meaning lonely, or want to go to another level is up to me. The Lord Jesus Christ, before he spoke his last words in his agony on the cross, said to his mother: “Behold woman, your son!” and to his favorite disciple John, who was standing next to her: “Behold your mother, and so God has given us a family that will last for all eternity. When I let God into my heart, the light of Christ that unites me to ALL who WANT to go to the light, I am at home. “Walk up in the light, that you may be children of the light. ”
That is my home.
I was born in Linz and I have no special bond to the place where I was born, nor to the places where I lived later. Those places that mean home to me are places of great power and culture. The Ötscher , the Sonntagberg, Mariazell, Vienna, Maria Loretto, Lake Traunsee, the Grimming, the Loser. And many other places, mountains, and locations in different countries of this heavenly Mother Earth.
Yes, I know homesickness, my soul knows homesickness… for heaven, for the people with whom it feels at home, for togetherness, for warmth and closeness. Also, for the places and situations that have touched me. Homesickness is a strong form of love, the feeling of connection to dear people and also to places and situations that one was allowed to experience or would like to experience.
When I feel homesick, I can see this feeling as a gateway to a path that takes me further in the direction, I really want to go …. home…. ♥️🌹
👩🏽🦱Theresa Slifko Ph.D.🇺🇸🇦🇹
I feel most “at home” when surrounded by friends and family. Currently, the place I call home is in Whittier, California, which is an urban suburb of Los Angeles. In 2007, when my son was only six months old, his dad and I moved from Orlando, Florida to be closer to his family so we had support with our baby. It was like a foreign country to me: I didn’t have any friends or family in the area; the food, culture, and climate was strange; and I began a new career as a new working mom. I felt terribly lonely and it was many years before I developed friendships. Eventually, my mother, who was suffering from health problems, came to live with us, and it eventually felt more like ‘home’.
Not at all. My parents met at school in a small college town called Clarion in northern Pennsylvania, where I was born. We left there when I was less than a year old and I’ve never returned. They moved around, a lot, until finally settling in St. Petersburg, Florida. I was eleven years old by then and consider St. Petersburg my ‘hometown’, because that is where I feel I grew up, where many of my high school friends and some family live, and where I feel most at ‘home’.
As mentioned above, I did feel extremely homesick when I first moved to California. The best advice I could give to anyone suffering from homesickness is to allow yourself to feel that emotion. Embrace it and know that is a normal feeling and it will eventually pass. Homesickness is a feeling we get when we can’t get in-person connection time with people we know, and when we feel we don’t have support, safety, or love that we get when we are with family and friends. Homesickness can be especially bad if we don’t feel safe or accepted and when we are someplace that is not familiar with people we don’t know or trust. Love, safety, trust, support, and connection time are fundamental needs in order to feel comfortable, so find a place that feels comfortable, safe, and friendly and spend time there. Connect with friends and family on a regular basis. Mom and I spoke on the phone every day during my commute home from work. Not only did that make the rush hour in Los Angeles bearable, it helped our relationship grow stronger than it ever had been. It’s also important to visit with friends and family, regularly. Several of my good friends came from Florida and I went there as often as possible. We had frequent phone conversations, sent hand-written cards and letters, and messaged each other jokes and heartwarming salutations. At some point, without realizing it, that wave of homesickness passed for me. Sometimes I still feel like a foreigner, but I finally consider Whittier my ‘home’.
🧑🏽🦱Sarah Nadala Ndegwa🇺🇬🇰🇪
Yes of course, I do visit home (in Uganda) during Christmas days and sometimes when we are holding our cultural dances and circumcisions.
I have my mom, my brother and my uncle and clan elders who have never left home since tragedies occurred. It so hectic especially to this families, like in 2018 I lost my sister and my nephew in an earthquake that took place. The government shifted those who were affected, but not my own family. We lost farms, livestocks. Things were hard to cope with. I remember that time I was pregnant, and I had gone to give birth, we had a choice to make but still my family didn’t shift to the new place the government gave us.
Sometimes you hold your future back. You don’t do anything just struggling to get basic needs. Effects of homesickness is that nothing good comes out of it, it is like a curse it is hard to fight it back. You sacrifice a lot to get out there.
What I can tell people who had experiences like I do?
You need to move to various places. You need to chance your expectations and expect both negative and positive impact in life.
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