It’s 5.30am and I’ve had one hour sleep in the last 20 hours so needless to say I’m feeling a bit emotional. In an hour I will be flying via Ethiopian Airlines from Vienna to Stockholm for five days, but I can’t work out whether I’m coming or leaving home.
Although my passport says I am British and I would say that I am first and foremost English that doesn’t mean I class England or Colchester as my home anymore. Vienna for me is my home. It’s where I live, where I eat and where I work (supposedly), yet I’ll be leaving for good in two months.
I have a house in Sweden and all my Swedish family live there. I’ve gone to Sweden at least 3-4 times a year my whole life and I consider my Swedish culture an inherent part of what makes me, me. So am I going on holiday? Am I going home? I certainly feel very comforted that in 4 hours I’ll be on a train to Gävle and my mum will pick me up and tomorrow I’ll be in my Swedish house where I’ve been to since I was 11. But at the same time I still feel like I’m uprooting, whereas I’ve been in Austria only for five months.
So what defines where you come from? Language? Certainly there my English wins, followed by my German (getting better every day) and my Swedish (which leaves a bit to be desired). Yet I never felt at home in France and my French is just as good (perhaps a bit worse now) than my German. Is it where your passport is from? Is it your parents’ culture? Or is it something else?
Every country offers to me a different side of my personality. In Sweden I am much more laid back, relaxed and content. In Austria I am much more adventurous, outgoing and mature. In England I am generally stressed, although that mostly may be because I’ve only come back to England for short bursts in the past year. I have to say when I was in the UK two weeks ago I felt more like a visitor than I’d ever felt before – I kept referring to Vienna as “back home”.
Where do you feel most at home? What is it that impacts where you’re from? Feel free to comment below!