Saturday, April 04, 2009

Thinking about "home"

How do you do it? my friend asks. You've gone hard core ex-pat.

The comment arises in an Irish pub called The Bangalore we expected to be an Indian restaurant. An Argentine couple in the corner is past the point of teasingly telling them to get a room. The rest of the world doesn't exist to them as they fall into each other's lips and arms. Radiohead plays and Irish beers and ciders are tap. The Indian food arrives and we laugh.

I'm as dressed up as I ever am in one of three outfits. I rattle the same bracelets I wear every day and sip my frenet and coke; a drink I love here but wouldn't seek out if it wasn't unique to this space.

How do I do it? How do I par my life down to a few suitcases over and over again, giving away everything in my apartment, moving again. I don't know. I don't seek to have as chaotic a life as I create. The constant packing and moving in and of itself is not the life I seek. And yet. here I am.

I moved out of my apartment on Friday. 30 days of my own little cockroach war apartment. 6th floor with a view of the sun setting over Buenos Aires every night. Music drifts up from the plaza below. I'm sad as I hand over the keys to the old man landlord whose English makes less sense than my Spanish but he still tries.

I don't know the next time I'll stop even 30 days in one place or where it will be.

How do we create a space that feels like home? What does it really take? If I had been in that apartment for 6 months I would have patched up all the tiny holes and cracks that the cockroaches used as highways. I would have put up my own pictures on the walls. I might have taken all the business cards off the refrigerator. I might have gotten rid of the TV that I never turned on.
but I didn't. I called it mine and made it as much home as I could for the short time I had. I called it enough and ran with it. The things I would have changed, had I lived there longer, I fixed instead with a sense of humor. There's only so much you can do...

Is this my life? It has been. Will it always be? What are these spaces we make home? Strings of temporary apartments and hostels. For years. and years. and somehow it's become kind of normal to me. Thinking about living in a house in that way that most people do sends me into giggles. a nervous sort of giggles. my life is so weird, I say to my friend. and I laugh.

The last day of the CELTA course, I felt so sad to say good bye to my classmates. Goodbye to a space that was a mixed experience. But for a month, they had filled my life and been my home of sorts. And though I'll keep in touch with some of them the feeling of all of us working to get each other through will never happen again. The space the 12 of us created grew to feel like home and that has passed.

And so the adventures continue. My friend and I have commandeered a 6 person dorm all to ourselves and will soon head to the vineyards at the foot of the Andes. Life is weird but it's damn good. The adventures continue...


Dajii said...

I met a person in New York who was from the midwest. They lived in a tiny stone room amid millions of stone rooms, who's window looked out on a brick wall. Every day they ate in cafe's and every week went to a jazz show or play. For 38 years they had done this, going nowhere else than on the subway to work. The person wanted to sing, and on occaision they had been in church chiors, even though not religious. the person was reasonably intelligent, though had forgotten how to laugh and was in 30 year therapy. I asked .. why this? The reply was, that this was the best. Everything was here, she said. I did not agree. Plants, animals, peace and love seemed to be missing. I was the one eyed man in the land of the blind, but not king, a misfit schedualed for blindness. So I left.
A home is not all, but it is a place where you can find peace and love, animals and nature. where you can pile your shit and breathe for a while without someone breathing down your neck. You are welcome to come be an ex-pat with me in belize, and I will watch your shit while you take over karakizstan. Then you can come home and breathe. Love you endlessly. dajii

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