Monday, November 3, 2008

A Place to Call "Home"

As the name of my blog suggests, I see myself as a transient drifter. There have been times when filling out customs forms that I've contemplated putting this title in as my occupation. I flit and flutter about (like a butterfly as Yara called me in class this morning)looking for a place to land, something to do. It's become a part of my make up, and I often have trouble envisioning my life with some other sense of style.
I've lived in so many places over the past few years. Since finishing college I've lived on three continents and according to my new Idaho driver's license, in three states. That's quite a bit of transience in 7 years if you ask me.
This concept of continual change is really difficult for the Czech people to understand. They're a very home oriented people. I know people who go to school in Prague during the week, and take the 4 hour train ride home every weekend. That's some serious commitment. For them, having a home is hugely important. They just can't even begin to make sense of me.
Friday night we had a fairly massive party. It was super fun to have Halloween coincide with Pub Night this year. I've got tons of pictures that I'll put up later, but for the moment, I want to share some interesting conversations I had on this topic.
Naturally, people here are always curious about what I'll choose to do in the future. I've come back once, and they generally seem to think it would be nice for me to come back again. At this point I don't really know what will happen next year. I was talking to one of my former students about being in the US this past summer, and the subject of home came up. He wanted to know whether I was going to go back "home" next year. I told him I really wasn't sure, but either way, I don't really have a home to go back to. Sure I have places I could live, and people I love that I could live with or at least near, but to go back to a place, you have to have really been there before. So technically, I have nowhere to go back to. (I was actually just teaching this concept this morning to my L2s!)
The thought of me having no home troubled him, and he told me that I could have family here and call this my home. He even went so far as to tell me that he could be my brother. I honestly can't begin to express how meaningful that was to me. It was an real offer of family, a connection that is so important for the people here, and it was being extended to me. The funny bit was that he's actually a year younger than my brother. He thought that was pretty much hilarious :)
Several hours later I was talking to another friend of mine on a variety of relational topics. Well, mostly he was asking me about marriage. But anyway, he asked me if I wanted to go back home to find someone to marry. At this point I felt the need to explain to him as well that I really don't have a home to go back to, and that I really don't know any single guys there either, so it doesn't make getting married any more likely there than here anyway.
He got a bit hung up on the bit about me not having a home to go back to. I'd told him before about my mobile history, but they seem to have so much difficulty conceptualizing what I'm trying to tell them. He just looked at me and said, "that's so sad. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have my home in Cheb to come back to." (He happens to be one of the people who goes to school in Prague, although he doesn't come back every single weekend, just knowing that he can seems to be helpful.) He then said, in all seriousness, "you can make Cheb your home. At least for a while if you want." That might not sound like much to most people, but to have a native of the city offering it up to me as a place to call home, even if only temporarily, was really significant.
I have no idea how long my life will continue here in this country. It's been an interesting experience, and I really do enjoy being here. I've met some truly amazing people here, and feel so blessed to have been allowed to be a part of their lives. I doubt that I'll live in Cheb forever, but I've been invited to have a family here and to call it home, and that really makes all the difference.


Sarah said...

I understand. It just makes me long for heaven all the more. Our real hom.

Crystal said...

What sweet comments. They make me miss Czechs. They're a people of good hearts.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Sarah. I think "home" is "Family" and you have a great family. Do they know that in Cheb? I imagine when they offer Cheb as a "home" they are offering you family. Let them be your extended family, but make sure they know all the other places you have family, too. Love ya. Mi casa, su casa.