I think a lot about home, homeland, cultural and national identity here. Who I am, who I want to be, where I want to go, what I call home, or homes.
There is this German word, Heimat, that kind of means home, but in a different way than usual, different than in “I’ll go home now”. Hard to describe or to define, but Heimat doesn’t have to be where you are at ‘home’ right now, but maybe where your heart belongs to (so ‘homeland’ might be the closest translation you can get). That word has a flaw though – there is no plural in German. It is always one.
And that never really worked for me. I always had several homes. Bavaria is one of them. A huge part of my heart lies in Austria – everytime I see my beloved mountains my heart takes a leap, everytime I leave, leave the landscape and the people there, it feels like a part of my heart ripped out, left behind.
And somehow, everytime I live somewhere new, a part of myself attaches itself to it. A little bit of it may lie in Düsseldorf and Cologne, a big chunk of it belongs to Erlangen and Ingolstadt, and right now Australia reaches for a huge part of the rest. How much is there? How many homes can you have?
I think one of the reasons how I could actually leave all my friends and beloved family behind, was because I always had more homes than one, and seeing one home again always meant saying goodbye to another. I always had to deal with that, and with thinking about where I live and what would have happened if I would have lived there longer.
It is so good to have people I absolutely love everywhere, and meet new people I love, and the experience of finding love and friendship, soulmates, everywhere. But I still miss them, and regardless where I am, there is always something, someone missing. Sad and happy, happy because I’m sad – happy because those people are out there, happy because there are so many wonderful people in so many places, happy that I found them, happy that I’m able to find them.
Yes, I am happy, happy to have those strong bonds to my family and my friends, regardless where I am, regardless if we talk every day or once a year, you are all a part of me and my life. And I’m glad about that.