As a kid, I very often could not remember where our house was. I would wander three blocks from home, with no idea how to get home. The streets all seemed familiar, but I did not know which way to turn to get to where I belonged. (It’s not that I have no sense of direction, it’s just that the world spins around all day long, so everything keeps moving and there is just no way to keep track of where everything goes… It’s not me… I swear… I’m great with directions. Ask anyone.)
About 20 years later, I’m just as lost as I was then… But rather than two blocks, my neighbourhood now spans two countries separated by a sea. They both seem pretty much alike, but they are very different upon further inspection.
Currently, I’m in a train between the two of them… and I don’t know which way is home anymore.
Light was my heart when I jumped on a train last week for a long overdue trip home; A place where the coffee is good, and they can serve me my favourite foods in my favourite places with my favourite people. A place where I know all the great hangouts, hardly ever get lost, and my friends are just a text message and bike ride away. A place where the sun always shines, the birds always sing, everyone is dressed like a rockstar and looks like a god. (true story)
In short, I was going home.
But then I got off the train, dragging a suitcase behind me over the poorly paved streets of Amsterdam. Looking desperately for a phone shop so I could buy a sim-card and call my friends, in the hope they can let me into their house… Struggling with the public transport because I didn’t remember the routes, and didn’t have my bike there anymore. To top it all off, it was raining. People looked like shit and the only birds that sang were fucking pigeons.
And I felt like I wasn’t home at all.
All these people spoke Dutch, and they could all of the sudden understand me when I swore at them in Dutch (awkward). The gates to the metro didn’t work exactly the same as the gates to the tube, so I walked in to them several times (even more awkward). No one gave me free coffee (just rude) and the movies were subtitled (Really annoying).
Walking around that place that seemed so familiar but was so different, with a suitcase in tow and no place to go to, made me realize I do not live there anymore. I might go back there someday, and it will always be my home.. But it’s not where I live right now.
So, now I’m on the train home again. I don’t feel the same excitement as I did last week. But I am still happy to be going home again (and even happier that I stuffed my suitcase full of apple sauce). My trip mostly reminded me how awesome my friends are. How much I love teeny tiny Amsterdam with it’s awesome people and their marvelous style and attitude. How much I love the Dutch landscape (because, let’s face it people… Hills suck)… And most of all, how much I will miss my dog.
And to be honest, I don’t exactly know where I belong anymore… That’s what my trip mostly reminded me of. I’ll never be British (or English, as they apparently prefer to be called. I on occasion call them douches… But they don’t really appreciate that either. Weird folks, I tells ya…), but neither do I belong in Amsterdam at the moment.
So one can argue I am as lost as a smart ass 5 year old wandering the streets of Lelystad. And I did argue that quite a bit, because let’s face it… Self pity is awesome.
But it’s not entirely true. While I might not really belong anywhere, I do have two homes… Two-and-a-half even, if you include Lelystad (which no one ever does. Even map makers pretend it doesn’t exist). That is a whole lot more than most people, for instance homeless people don’t have two homes. (Although they do get to build cartboard fortresses and shit like that… (so, no pity for those lucky bastards)).
And they say home is where the heart is… And currently my heart is divided between England, where I live and work… and the Netherlands, where my friends and family and dog all miss me with the fury of a thousand suns (right, guys?!).
Which means two things.
1. A lot of people love me all over the planet.
It’s easy to see why. I mean, just look at me.
2. My heart easily stretches many miles. And while some people suspect that I might be stretching my heart out so much, it will soon collapse in some massive coronary attack…
I prefer to see it that my heart is just really, really big…
And while I can never again just go home because I can’t be in two places at once. (barring some weird quantum collapse) I can at least find some solace in the fact that my home is pretty much wherever I go (though this might be because on principle I never leave Europe).
Unless I go to Russia, because I really don’t know anyone there or care to know anyone that lives there. I barely survived my last run in with Russians… I care not for these people right now (sorry Russians, I’m sure you are nice people… Buy me a couple of Vodkas some day and I might be willing to sway my opinions… But right now for all I’m concerned you all tried to kill me…)