I posted this originally on September 18, 2005, but as I sit here and think of what to write for my first "Home" post, this is the story that keeps coming to mind over and over again. So here is where this journey of defining "home" will begin (it's unedited, so five years is now nearly eight, and three years is now nearly six. My, how time does fly!). Enjoy!
Home. Apparently this is still a confused word for me.
I have been living on my own for... [counting on my fingers] ... wow. Five years now. I have been at my place now for exactly three. I feel like my place is home. I still refer to my mom and dad's place as 'home' sometimes, but I would say overall, 'home' is my own place.
That's sort of a weird shift for me. It's strange going home (there I go again... I mean to mom and dad's) and not totally feeling like I belong there. I don't have a bedroom there anymore, and I don't always remember where things are. When I'm helping to unload the dishwasher, I often have to ask where things go in the kitchen.
Even more strange is coming home, er, to mom and dad's, and having the first person I see be someone I've never met before. My parents are part of a home stay program for a few language schools in town, so there is almost always at least one student from Japan or Germany or Brazil or any number of other countries staying there. Sometimes I walk in (I do still have a house key!) and the new student looks at me like, "Who are you?" (They're not always that attentive to photos on the walls, etc). I feel like saying, "Hi, I'm Hillary. I live here."
Except I don't.
I realized this past week that this issue of 'home' is more confused for me than I thought it was. As I've mentioned, my friend Cathy from Australia is staying with me right now while she's finishing up her occupational therapy practicum. Other than her staying with me, I've never had a roommate, so the only reason I've had to phone my house is to occasionally leave a reminder voicemail for myself.
The other day I was grocery shopping and wanted to know if Cathy wanted me to pick anything up. So, I got out my cell to call home. And that's exactly what I did. I dialed the number without even thinking, and after two rings, I got a voice I was definitely not expecting.
"Uh.... hi, Dad."
I had called home.
We had a good chuckle about this and then I did what I meant to do in the first place: call home.
Now this makes for a cute story, but it's not exactly blogworthy in and of itself. However, the story's not over. (Hillary? Tell a short story? Neeeever!)
Cut to last Friday afternoon. I was preparing for my substitute teacher who will be there all week while I'm at Grade 7 Camp. It was taking longer than I had expected and Cathy and I had plans for the evening. I needed to call her to ask her to get dinner started so we could eat before we went out.
The command went from my brain to my fingers: Call Home. One ring later, "Um... hi, mom."
I laughed at myself and told her how I ended up sounding confused and talking to her instead of Cathy. She then then told me that she thought I was calling to wish my dad happy birthday. AAAHHHH! Which also meant that I had forgotten to call her on her birthday three days earlier. But that level of "I'm a bad bad daughter" guilt requires it's very own post.
'Home' is not a cut and dry word for me, apparently. I guess on some level, mom and dad's will always be home. It's where I grew up, it's where my family is. It looks like I'm in for a few more confused phone calls 'home.' And I'm ok with that.