“I’m a foreigner living in Turkey, so I’ve experienced myself what it’s like not to be able to live your full identity. It makes me very unhappy sometimes – but I have chosen this life and if I want it to be different I can go back to my own country. I have control over it ...” Chris Green wrote, reporting on the Dutch journalist Fredrike Geerdink’s experience on investigating and reporting on Kurds’ issues in Turkey (published in the Independent February 4, 2015).
Fredrike’s story really resonated with me as I told myself and everyone else, for years, that I cannot go back home to my country. I just couldn’t, for several reasons. I needed all this time away.
But after having been back in Stockholm for nearly four months the past two summers I realized that it isn’t too bad after all. I have changed so much over the years that I have been away that I actually in fact do not mind living in Stockholm (not too much at least).
Also, my parents, friends and other loved ones always, always kept reassuring me that I can always come back home, that I am always welcome home.
Even my boss from my first real job welcomed me back after six years. I just phoned her up and said my name: she replied “I remember you!”. Two days later I met with the new managers who welcomingly took me back on-board.
That was the summer two years ago.
Then I disappeared again for a year.
But still: I am welcome back.
Not only to work but to my many homes: to my friends’ homes; to my brother and his girlfriend’s home; to my Mom’s home and to my Dad and his Wife’s home.
No matter how long I am away for, they always welcome me back with open arms.
Another year on, I have managed to secure yet another job in my hometown. (Sidenote: I was also offered a position as a writer right before I left Hawaii in December. I am currently in the midst of securing an intern position for a daily paper here in Scotland as well.)
People often ask me if I have lost many of my friends during the years I have been moving around.
The answer is No, neither one of them.
I have gotten closer to most of them. I have grown closer to my family, even all my friends, I would say… You see, sometimes the geographical distance can bring you closer to people.
I am so lucky and so grateful for all the wonderful people I get to have in my life.
And truth be told, four years on it is starting to get hard – emotionally – to be away.
I miss close friendships.
Close in the way that I am with my oldest friends, with the ones who stood by me throughout the hard times and watched me grow. The ones who, whenever needed, help me remembering who I am, what I want and what I can do. The ones who know me inside out and essentially who I am, and can remind me of it even when I forget.
The last few months haven’t been all too easy as various things have happened in life. Usually it is during times like these that I begin missing ‘home’ – the concept of home, familiarity.. People who know me – all shades of me. People that just make life easier and add colours to it.
Those wonderful and amazing people who make you feel loved and valuable no matter what.
I have always been lucky to find great people along the roads I have taken, no matter where life has taken me. But it will never be the same as the oldest relationships you have to those who watched you grow into the being you are. At the same time, those back home have not been around, watching me grow into the newest version of me.
It is true that having scattered your heart around the globe means that you never will be fully at home again because parts of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for loving and knowing people in more than one place.
But home, your original home, is always home.
Your family is always going to be your family, no matter how many other people that become essential elements in your life.
This post was originally posted in February 2015