Last week we went back to England. We spent a glorious week visiting family and friends.
Last week I went back home.
Is it home though? Deep down I was hoping that my return to Yorkshire would leave me nonplussed. I was hoping that I would be able to move on, that I would be able to start calling Jersey home. However, that was not the case. Our week in Ilkley saw me galloping across moors, hungrily drinking up the stunning views and eyeing up every house that was up for sale. For much of the week I stood with my nose pressed against the estate agent windows. I resembled a hungry threenager. It was like I was eyeing up the rows of sweets in a sweet shop. However, the reality was that those sweets were some very expensive houses. Like a threenager, I had a tantrum when the ever patient Mr C pointed out that we couldn’t move back to Ilkley; that we couldn’t buy the half a million pound sweet. One can dream, right? I spent the whole week feeling torn. This was only exacerbated when Mr C popped back to where he used to work. He was told that there was a job for him, if he wanted it. A job that meant we could come back home.
I was euphoric. Then after working it all out; breaking it all down, I realised that it would be wrong to go back – just yet. That it wouldn’t be best for Mr C and that it wouldn’t be best for the girls – just yet. I am clinging onto the “just yet”. I have to believe that there is still the option to go back to Yorkshire, to go back home. I don’t know why I think of Yorkshire as being home. I wasn’t born and bred in Yorkshire. My accent still belies that I am actually an Essex girl. This is despite spending all of my adult life trying to cover-up my Essex twang. Trying to distance myself from the stereotypes of the Essex girl, stereotypes not helped by TOWIE. Why is it that I still think of Yorkshire as my home? My family doesn’t live there. Yes, I have many friends who live there. However, since moving to Jersey, I have also lost touch with some friends. That’s life. People move on. The world moves on. Lives don’t stand still. Would it feel the same if I moved back? Mr C argues that it is familiarity that makes me call Yorkshire home. I dispute this but it niggles at me. I wonder if he is right. I have spent all of my adult life in Yorkshire. I left Essex at 18 years old and I didn’t look back. I never felt the urge to return. Therefore, do I still view Yorkshire as home because it is familiar? Am I looking at it all wrong? Should I be regarding home as just the roof above our heads? Is it really that simple?
I am lucky. I live in a house full of love. I have a roof over my head and food on the table. It isn’t my home though. There is a saying that goes –
‘home is where the heart lives’.
Or words to that effect. Home is where we feel we belong. That is the crux of it. I don’t feel like I belong in Jersey. However, I accept that is my fault. I have been so fixated on what I am missing in Yorkshire that I haven’t allowed myself to appreciate what I have in Jersey. In Yorkshire I felt that I was part of a community, I felt that I could be myself. I don’t recognise the Jersey me and I have written about this before. However, a big part of that has to be my change in role. My sense of displacement could be because I’m now a stay-at-home mum. I have acknowledged that when I was teaching, I felt that I was surrounded by more like-minded people. As a result I felt that I could be myself; I felt accepted, I felt comfortable.
Sometimes it is good to feel uncomfortable. It reminds us that we are alive. It forces us to appreciate what we had and what we could have again. A change can be good. It might not feel like it right now, and there will still be days when I really miss home. However, there are now more days where I feel very lucky to be living in Jersey. I feel very lucky to be able to be a stay-at-home mum with the children. Finally, I feel lucky that I now have the time to write. Yorkshire might have been home, but it wasn’t necessarily the right home for us. It was a home that saw us just getting by. We took a leap into the unknown because we recognised that we had to make a radical change for our family life. We had to put our family first. In the process we have learnt a lot about ourselves as a family unit and also as individuals. If I forced us to return back to Yorkshire, I wouldn’t be returning back home
I would be running away from Jersey.
I watched a TED talk given by Pico Iyer. In it he attempted to answer – where is home? Towards the end of his speech he said something that really resonated with me –
” But movement, ultimately, only has a meaning if you have a home to go back to. And home, in the end, is of course not just the place where you sleep. It’s the place where you stand. “
Yorkshire will always have a big part of my heart but now is time to stand still. Now I need to appreciate what I have in Jersey. I need to allow myself to feel at home. Although Yorkshire will always have the better mushy peas 😉 I also know that Yorkshire will always be there for me. I now need to embrace what Jersey has given me. We won’t be returning……just yet.
What does home mean to you?