Tag Archives: home

In which I debate house and home

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Synonyms are such a bizarre thing, wouldn’t you say? “House”…”Home”… They’re usually used interchangeably even though their connotation is rather different. I say this as a person whose first language uses the same word for both concepts (and then some). I do find myself leaning towards “home” in preference though. “House” feels so impersonal, a word that should be used to describe a building instead of the (hopefully) warm and fuzzy feeling that is “home”. Yes, I think “home” is a feeling, a state of being if you will, instead of a particular place. It’s being safe and comfortable and familiar with all the quirks that come with it.

For me home is Athens (some parts of it more than others), Paros, Norwich, heck! at a stretch I’d add Nottingham. Goodness knows I’ve grown at least used to this confused whirlwind of a city. But home for me is also fire crackling, swimming surrounded by waves, getting lost in a library, walking in the countryside or a very select playlist on my mp3 (no, you don’t get to learn what songs). I’ve travelled, not nearly as much as I wish, and there have been places that felt welcoming, like almost-homes or potential homes, and places I couldn’t wait to get out of. As much trouble as I have reading (real) people, places and atmospheres are open books. Don’t know why. Must be the story-teller in me. If a place has potential for stories to be told in the years to come, you can bet your glossy pages I’ll want to be there!

What has onset my latest bout of philosophical rambling, you ask? My ever-un-pleasant, ever-stressful job hunting. Word to the un-wise: your chances to get that dream job you’re sighing longingly over are probably higher if you stay positive about it, no matter how farfetched. And what better way to do that than to indulge in some daydreaming of walking around the place you’d be living in (if you’re like me and likely to move), find your dream house (never mind your paycheck, this is a daydream after all!)? I didn’t even realise it at first, but one of the most recurring questions running through my head while I was going through Zoopla ads (after “How far from the rail station is it?” and “How do they get away with charging this much for a hole in the wall?”) was “Could I make a home out of this house?”

There’s a question that’s loaded, terrifying and exhilarating at the same time! Especially in the few cases when, while going through apartment pictures, I found myself mentally assigning places for my stuff or imagining what kind of posters I would put on which walls… I mean, I have no concept how far out of my budget I’d be in the places I was looking (probably less than I fear). I suppose that’s the nice thing about dreams. Unless you’re desperate to make them your reality, you are allowed to be as grandiose as you wish…

 

 

 

But what does it say for me, that my idea of grandiose is a successful job interview, an decent apartment with a kitchen I can cook in (and bake, and have a fridge all on my own) and not having to worry about money by the end of the month or whenever bills show up? Welcome to the 21st century, I suppose….

In which I ponder the word home

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Haven’t used this tag in a while, have I? Honestly I only stopped because I was having trouble coming up with names. I know mine a hardly the most imaginative of titles most of the time but let’s just say that usually they are what takes the most time in a post…. Also, this will be one of my all-over-the-place posts. I’ve been slingshotting between angry and hyper all day. Sometimes it sucks being a girl… So what’s with the title? Lately I’ve been doing a lot of interpreting of (sometimes badly) translated texts and that’s got me thinking of how concepts transfer from one language to another, from one time period to another. To use a hopefully not-cliché example, an elf in medieval England would invoke veeeeery different images than what Tolkien immortalised in his work….

  

Shrink the scale significantly (I love alliteration!) and you have a 20-something student wondering what exactly it entails to call a place your home. Is it where you come from? Can’t be because eventually you leave your parents’ house. Is it what official forms, rather unimaginatively, call “permanent address”? Can’t be that either. Students (or at least Yours Truly) have the habits of migratory birds: moving around a lot. Yes, you say, but even migratory birds have patterns. Ok, not my best metaphor but you get the point. Is it the place you feel most comfortable in? I suppose there’s a point there. But how can you feel comfortable in a place where you know you will only be for a very limited amount of time?

One of my flatmates was surprised at the amount of things in my room when she first saw it (posters, throws, books, decorative skulls…) I suppose that over the last few years things accumulated but strangely when my room was still undecorated, although it looked bigger, it also felt kind of…claustrophobic. Like a box… I guess turning it to an explosion of colours and patterns was my attempt to make it feel like a safe place if not a home. I’ve always been the kind of girl who will curl up under three blankets and half a dozen pillows when feeling down. I still remember waking from nightmares and hiding under my duvet not to hide from the shadows but because that was my little burrow and no one but me could enter without my permission. Ironic that I grew up to the girl who watched Rise of the Guardians and wanted to hug the Boogie-man…

But back to my point…(I had a point? Right?) Remember the inevitable playing-Sims phase when you’d spend more time designing houses than actually playing with your characters. Like this I’ve been daydreaming my first home for the last four years. By no means the castles I used to build in Sims 2, it’d be a one-bedroom flat, maybe with a tiny garden I can realistically take care of, but it’d be mine. Everything about it would scream me, because for once I wouldn’t have to co-ordinate with someone else’s preferences. True, I can only afford pre-furnished flats at this point, but the positive of incredibly generic flats is that you don’t need to work someone else’s sense of style. You get a simple basic (like good make-up) and work your way up. Also, the right combination of pillows, trinkets and fresh flowers can transform a room. I would know…

And who knows? Maybe it won’t take me a decade before I can afford to rent (no chance on buying and I’d like to avoid going in debt for as long as possible, thank you very much!) an unfurnished apartment and really let loose creatively. A girl can dream. Until then, that’s what Amazon wishlists are for. I’d stick to Sims, but unfortunately my laptop is not able to support the graphics.

Do I have a conclusion? Some sort of last minute revelation? I suppose if I were truly pressed for an answer I’d say that home is where you truly feel safe. Whether this is your parents’ place, the tiny studio you first rented with your own money, a mansion or the tiny coffee shop that you go to when you’re feeling down because the owner reminds you of your grandmother (and no, for once the example is not taken out of my life) it doesn’t matter. Bottom line, we all need a place to be ourselves and when we actually find it, it’s just beautiful.

In which the sun is making me lazy

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So, I’m back to sunny home-sweet-home. Yay! There’s a running joke I have with my friends about my perpetual complaints of being cold while I’m in England. If any of you are reading this right now, you can rest easy, knowing that even in Athens I feel a little chilled at night. It’s not the weather my lovelies. It’s my dragon-blood! (Long story, a friend said I’m like a reptile what with being cold all the time and I declared myself a dragon. Actually… Not so long story.) Anyways, I’ve been soaking up the heat for the past few days, which, until my body is used to the warmer temperatures, means my mood swings between content-as-a-snake-after-lunch to Speedy-Gonzales-hyper. Apparently part of me just wants to enjoy the heat but another part is so energised by the Vitamin D boost that she needs to keep moving. My solution? Long, lazy walks in the sun.

Anyway, since I’m at the beginning of my summer vacation, this will be one of those “I have nothing of import to say” posts. Suffice to say I’ll try to get over my lethargy soon and actually post something interesting next time. ^_^

Until then, have a cute picture of a kitten!

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X is for x-x-x

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When I was little my school used to drag us to church before Christmas (probably in the vain hope that we’d be enlightened and therefore more serious in class). The priest there had this annoying habit of preaching the exact same sermon Every. Freaking. Year. The subject? That X-mas is an entirely inappropriate word and we should use the full version when referring to Christmas. Never mind that most people I know only use X-mas as shorthand in shopping lists… I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic lately (what with vising the parents and so), so I’m going to write not for X-mas but for the inevitable, obnoxious, seasonal requirement of gracefully receiving kisses.

 

I don’t mind physical attention. I’m as cuddly as a cat in fact. But having to trade hugs and kisses (even the social, kiss-the-air kind) with people I only see once or twice a year and maybe I’m not even that fond of, then Huston, we have a problem. I understand behind the action, I accept it as a social obligation, but it still makes me want to crawl away and hit the alcohol. Perhaps I’m exaggerating a little, but come on! You wouldn’t hug someone on first meeting! Seeing someone only in the context of a Christmas dinner is a bit like that. Seven kinds of awkward.

 

Maybe I’m being hyper-sensitive because I’m visiting the family for the holidays and after a semester of Skype talks it takes some getting used to. Never mind all-nighters in the library, this is emotionally exhausting. Part of me is glad to be out of England and not having to care about keeping together a house and a degree at the same time. Another part of me is half-way done with her escape plan. If you have a large family you know the feeling. It’s not what’s spoken that’s the problem. It’s the unspoken expectations…

 

….This turned pretty gloomy for a Christmas Eve post. I hope you have more fun than I do this festive season.