After 4 yrs living abroad and a recent relocation to a new apartment, I wonder how much do I feel to belong to a place. Or better where do I feel at home. What do I mean when I say –I’m going home— the place where I currently live or my parents’ house? Four yrs might have been enough to make me feeling a beloved guest during my visits in my hometown, although I spent there about 30 yrs of my life.
The reasons why I don’t feel at home in my hometown in Italy come from the past. When my parents decided to move back to Italy from Germany, I went to the nearest kindergarden, but I’ve never been considered a “local” by my schoolmates. Only recently a couple of mates have greeted me as “back home". For sure, in my parents' house I feel as I’ve never left, but I've never considered to move back there, unless forced by events. I don't feel my hometown “my place”.
Vienna is the most comfortable place where I've lived and I miss a lot the life I had there. Although I miss the concerts, the churches, the gardens, the food (especially the Mohnstrudel), and the beauty of Vienna, I know that I don’t belong to that city. It was really nice to live there. It was like a dream that cannot last forever, after a while becomes unbearable. In addition, I had a flat in a student dorm, not the place one would consider "home".
At the beginning Brussels reminded me the worst of Padova. In summary: the traffic jams, the slowness of bureaucracy, the scarce care to customers in shops, the frequent frauds, the petty crimes, the insufficient public transportation, etc. The first 6-8 months I deeply hated this place. Then I found a kind of agreement for surviving. Finally I moved in another area and it seems I moved in another continent. Although now I feel that I could stay here for the rest of my life, I know that also this solution will be probably as temporary as Vienna, because of my job.
Anyway, wherever I move I always feel a foreigner. The main problem is the language, in my hometown I didn't speak the local dialect, in Vienna proper Wienerisch (not even decent German), in Brussels I'm fighting with terrible English, a bit of Dutch and pretty bad French. What will come next? Erasmus, who lived in town, said that home is where the hearth is. My brain is in Germany, my stomach between Italy and Austria, but I liked also a lot Japan, although my hands would prefer Swiss organs,... I’m afraid my hearth has still to find its place.