Thursday, 19 January 2012

Thankful Thursday: Home

The subject of 'home' has raised its head a number of times recently but it was SP's post Home Sweet Home which made me think about it more earnestly than usual.  Where is 'home'?  For me home is where I am comfortable with myself in my surroundings.  That's easy for me to say because I've only lived in six places in my life and three of those were fairly transitory in the early '70s when I married and before we moved to the Outer Hebrides.  Except that it's actually seven because now I live in two places: Scotland and New Zealand or, more specifically, Lewis and Napier.  

People often ask me which place I'd rather make my permanent home.  The answer is that as I don't have to make a choice I don't think about it and as I don't have residency in New Zealand the longest I can stay is 9 months at a time anyway.  However I choose to stay 6 months here and 6 months in Scotland (and France and....).  I used to say that if someone pulled up the drawbridge I could live happily in either place but most of my closest friends (excepting my NZ 'family') are in the UK (and those in Canada and elsewhere are in neither home country anyway).

Choosing Lewis is not as simple as that of course: old friends have retired away from Lewis; I have made new friends who don't live on Lewis; very important friends still live on Lewis; and my son Gaz is building a house on Lewis.  The list of considerations is endless.  And there will come a time when I can't gallivant and stay where I wish and see whom I wish and Lewis is a long way from anywhere else.

Some people talk of going back to their roots but I do not know a single person who lives in the city of my birth.

I love Lewis.  I love New Zealand.  I love Glasgow (Well that's pushing it.  I could never live in a city but I enjoy it when I'm there.).  I love France.  I love Canada.  I am happy in the skin that I'm in and I love being wherever I have the privilege to be.  I'm lucky because for the moment I can choose.

For that I am thankful....very thankful indeed.


  1. Once you have choices, the selection just becomes harder. I had imagined it would be Lewis, but hadn't thought of it's isolation.

    Interesting that Gaz is building up there now... but I guess when the time comes, you will choose the best place to meet your needs and have some wonderful memories.

  2. We have several planes to and from the mainland each day and the ferry twice a day and once on Sundays,two National Supermarkets, shops of all descriptions and a good hospital. We have doctors who visit you if you cannot get to their surgeries on this island, very little crime and doors that can stay unlocked - is this isolation? You can be off this island one day and on your way to anywhere in the world by the next.

    If this is isolation then bring it on I say!

    Would still like some of your sunshine though Graham - high wind and wintry showers here today.

  3. I'm with you, GB. Why should we have to choose only one place?

    I was born in Canada and still love it, though the winters up around Edmonton are too harsh for me to want to live there year-round.

    I currently live near Seattle, and I guess that would be considered my permanent residence. But I also love the UK, most of it anyway -- though there are a couple of parts of Birmingham that ... but I digress.

    I also love Maui, Hawaii, and parts of France. I'm sure there are other places that I would love too, I just haven't spent long enough there to really get to know them.

    Gets expensive visiting all the places I love, but I do it whenever I can. It's nice to live in a day-and-age when it isn't necessary to be restricted to only one place.

  4. I think that the issue at the back of my mind when I wrote this post was the future. I see no reason why one shouldn't live in more than one place and call each 'home' although Spesh1 aka Pat keeps reminding me that my 'real' home is Lewis. I am fortunate enough to be able to do that although living in NZ is becoming almost prohibitively expensive for me. Lewis is a great place and has almost everything one could need in terms of facilities. That's one reason I've lived there the greater part of my life. But home is more than that. To put it one way - without Pat and Dave and Gaz (who will hopefull soon have a base there) I'd have few of my really close friends, who make up so much of life, remaining on the Island.

  5. Oh and to set the record straight I have no intention or thoughts of abandoning Tigh na Mara!

  6. Roots is a complicated thing! Some people I've got to know in the past 20 years assume that I grew up where I live now, because my parents did, and then also came back to live here in their old age.

    But the fact is that I was born and lived my first 20 years in another town, which I've not even been back to visit since my parents left it in 1992! I can't see myself ever going back there to live.

    But in the town where I lived between age 20-30 (before coming here) I still have friends + my brother. Moving back there for my "old age" is not an impossible idea. But I'm not sure about it either!

  7. It's not easy is it Monica?

  8. You are lucky GB and I'm very envious.


  9. It is a lot simpler for me - I live in the town where I was born, where I went to school, where took my first steps into the world of work, where my parents and my sister and many of my friends live, and where I like the small flat I own and its surroundings.
    Having a family in Yorkshire, too, and spending some time with them at least once a year, I feel very much at home there as well.
    If I had to choose between the two places, it would be very hard to make that choice.