I had always felt quite at home with myself, no matter the location.
However, as a wife and mother spending some time alone at university in France, I missed my home for the first time in my life.
I longed for the patter of feet and arguments to wake me up in the morning and even the constant enquiries as to where such or such an object was to be found would have been welcome.
Although distracted by friends and studies, I lacked my reason for being. I had not yet built up common traditions with my new community. None of us conversed in our mother tongue, so perhaps we were frustrated with our inability to express our feelings meaningfully. Our only insight into each other’s lives and homes was by hearsay and imagination; no shared history.
Perhaps, given longer, we would have formed stronger bonds, celebrated milestones or experienced common loss.
I realise that I felt no nostalgia for the material goods and trappings of my house. It was the absence of the essence of home which, to me, is family, friends and our way of life. Home is where you are given unconditional love, where there is the security of a support network developed over time; your comfort zone.