Homecoming

“Home is wherever I’m with you”~ Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

I’ve loved those lyrics since they came out in the song “Home” about five years ago. Home isn’t necessarily a place, it is a feeling that one has with certain people, a culture or a location.  My blog’s little Farmgirl mascot often reminds me of a similar sentiment–“Farmgirl is a condition of the heart.”  The City Farmgirl’s quote also exclaims a similar idea–“Being a farmgirl isn’t about where you live, it’s about how you live.”

Home is where I can identify and appreciate the wild flowers.  Trillium in bloom in north central Minnesota.

Home is where I can identify and appreciate the wild flowers. Trillium in bloom in north central Minnesota.

Now that we are contemplating moving to a more populous area, I’ve been really contemplating the idea of “home.”  What have been my homes?  Where do I consider home, now?  How will I instill the idea of home in my child and future children?

Could Saturn be referred to as home?   Not quite yet...but this park is coming close.  The Medicine Wheel Park in Valley City, North Dakota.

Could Saturn be referred to as home? Not quite yet…but this park is coming close. The Medicine Wheel Park in Valley City, North Dakota.

We just returned to Alaska from a fantastic vacation to the Midwest.  We visited North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.  As we prepared to leave Alaska a few weeks ago I mentioned to my little ten-year-old farming friend, Leila, that I was going, “home” for a couple of weeks.  She looked at me, confused, with a cocked head and questioned, “You mean you’re going to the yurt?”  To be fair, she knew exactly what I meant; but she hates the idea that I could some day leave Alaska and bring her favorite baby friend, Ava, with me.  She has gone so far as to prohibit me from saying “the M word” (Minnesota) around her. Again, today, when I talked about all of the fun things we did when we were “home” she gave me a disconcerted look and exclaimed, “But, Alaska is your home!”  We had to have a little discussion about how I refer to several places as my “home.”  They are the places that I feel the most comfortable, loved and safe.  They are also, generally, places that I have lived.

We haven't gotten to the point where the airport is referred to as "home."  However, we feel comfortable enough to nap during long layovers.

We haven’t gotten to the point where the airport is referred to as “home.” However, we feel comfortable enough to nap during long layovers.

You know how pet adoption services refer to rescue animals finding their “forever (or sometimes the terrible pun, furever) homes”?  I think Minnetonka, Minnesota is my forever home.  However, I wonder if that would still be the case if my mother was to leave the house we grew up in.  Her house is my Home, with a big H.  Maybe that will change if and when Evan, Ava and I ever end up in a house that we plan on staying in for an extended period of time.  I’ve had many other homes since going away to college at eighteen–a dorm room, several apartments in Madison, Wisconsin; a teeny tiny apartment in Yeoju, Korea; Evan’s apartment in Seoul; and apartments, houses and a yurt in Alaska!  I’ve also had some very transient “homes” in the ways of tents, hotel rooms, family member’s houses I’ve stayed in and our cabin growing up.  At the end of the day, when I or someone else says, “It’s time to go home,” we automatically know where “home” is that night.

Home is where a golf cart ride is always waiting for you.  Ava and Uncle Marshall in NoDak!

Home is where a golf cart ride is always waiting for you. Ava and Uncle Marshall in NoDak!

So what, to me, is home?  It’s where I can walk in the door feel completely comfortable.  It’s where I can take a nap on the living room couch in the middle of the day and not feel judged by anyone.  It’s where Ava can leave books scattered about and no one bats an eye.  it’s where Evan can take a shower and easily lounge around in his robe for an hour. It’s where I have unfettered access to the internet. It’s where you don’t have to ring a doorbell and it’s where you can sit and stare at the open fridge for a few minutes looking for the perfect snack. Most importantly, home is where people you love and that love you are present.  It’s where you can laugh, cry, yell and be silent without any regrets (well, maybe with the yelling depending on the situation!).

"Root, root, root for the home team!"  Go Twins!

“Root, root, root for the home team!” Go Twins!

All of this undoubtedly reminds me of the myriad people who do not have any place to call home…the homeless.  Sometimes, it’s a choice, but it generally is not.  Can you imagine not having a single place where you feel comfortable, loved and safe? I have been “homeless” in the easiest sense of the term a couple of times.  The most notable was when Evan and I moved to Alaska and could not find an apartment for over a month.  We weren’t living on the streets, but it was still pretty difficult.  We “couch surfed” and mostly lived out of our car.  While we stayed with people who were incredibly friendly and helpful, we always had the lingering feeling of intruding on another’s space.  It’s exhausting to not have a place where you can totally switch off, relax and feel at ease.  Overall, it was pretty terrible; and I am eternally grateful that it is not a situation that I am forced to be in for an extended period of time.

Home is filled with people we love--nieces and siblings!

Home is filled with people we love–nieces and siblings!

So, while some may scoff at me calling several places “home.”  I think it’s pretty amazing that my family and I have the privilege of referring to several places across the United States as “home.”  We are part of a very lucky minority of people that can make this claim.  I wonder what future homes we have in stock!

What makes a “home” in your opinion?  Let us know and share some of your homes with us!

Until next time,

Sending peace and love from my Alaskan home,

Alex, The Rural Farmgirl

Leave a comment 7 Comments

  1. Susabelle says:

    “Home” is where you are. Wherever that is. But there are other versions of “home.” I lived in the same metropolitan area (St. Louis-sh) for the first 50 years of my life. Then I got laid off in a terrible economy and had to leave my state to find work. I landed in beautiful Colorado, living along the Front Range of the Rockies. This is “home” no matter what house I am renting at the time (I am an eternal renter). But I often go “home” to visit family and friends in Missouri. There are many versions of home. Many.

  2. Adrienne says:

    Having spent seven years living in my motorhome and driving around the U.S., Canada and Mexico, I went by the adage “Home is where you park it.” The phrase was coined by the Escapees, a group of full-time RVers who are based in Livingston, Texas but roam where they want and had their mail forwarded to whatever location had general delivery. My home was always with me so I was always “home.” Now I live in an apartment in San Francisco and that’s “home.” I chose this city over all others in the U.S. and am very happy I did.

  3. Joan says:

    Oh my a new experience on the horizon? I too have had many buildings/areas that I called ‘home’ – right now I have one of the most beautiful buildings ever but can move on to anything – well almost anything – at my age I do require much creature comfort – but could move on. BUT HOME is still my Grandparents HOME where I was loved and I loved – a farm, cows, pigs, chickens, orchard, gardens, lots!! of relatives – LOVE!!! Can’t go back to that, except in my memories n pictures but it is the ONLY place I want to be. Best wishes in your decision. God bless P.S. your Ava is scrumptious!!

  4. Dori Troutman says:

    Hi Alex,

    I have a lot of places I call home too. And I’m so thankful for that. My husband and I built a house all by ourselves (yes, totally) that took us 2 full years of working day and night. I knew this house inside out, literally, when we moved in and you know what? It took me almost a year before is really felt like home. That was when I really became aware that “home” is a lot more than where we live. It is memories! And for the first year of living here, I think I was recovering from the stress of building it (ha ha!) so it took me awhile to really make it a home. Now? It’s the best home I’ve ever lived in and I love it more than any of the others! And a lot of that is now due to the fact that we built it ourselves and the memories of that are phenomenal.

    I sure loved your post and what I kept coming back to was your sweet comment about your little 10-year old farming friend. What a lucky little girl she is to have you for a friend. No matter where you eventually end up, it’ll be a happy day for her to come visit! :-)

    It is true – home really is where the heart is.

    – Dori –

  5. Jodie says:

    “Home is where you hang your hat.” My dad always told me that…I think prepping me for the day when I actually left “home”. Good luck in your search for your new home. Looking forward to an update.

  6. Joy Pascarella says:

    There are two “Homes”. One in our memories from childhood, and one where we sleep every night and eat and relax and make new memories. My childhood homes are all gone because of progress so I have to close my eyes and remember it just the way it was. It will always be there. My today home is where I garden, take care of my chickens and cats and put my things in. Every few years my husband gets an urge to move. Leave everything I am familiar with and try something else. I fight it but always give in and have never regretted it. We have new experiences and learn new things like instead of living in a big house on a corner few acres where everyone sees every move you make, to a small cedar home in the woods with lots of acres and no one sees anything. Change is good and can be so fun, but always too scary at first. As long as you have someone with you , that you trust and love, I think home can be anywhere.

  7. Rowena Philbeck says:

    My true home is where I live but I’m not far from where I was born. Texas is also my home. I have been here all my life. Traveled a lot and plan to do more for sure when I retire in a few years. Love everywhere…and seeing all what God has done!!

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