Let’s go on a little trip from then to now.
When I was 18 I left my family home to go to University. After travelling for 18 hours and meeting a brand new friend who was willing to collect me from the train station, she and I arrived at Halls. I walked in to my new room and very nearly walked back out again. The walls were breeze block coated in cream emulsion, the window dressed with a bright orange roller blind. A small wooden-framed single bed, a bare desk, an angle poise lamp and two shelves screwed to the wall were the furnishings. Double doors at one end of the room hid a wardrobe and a wash basin. Bleak makes it sound good.
I stayed – for three years.
The end of university saw me get married, we lived in a two bedroomed flat in a large house, still in Aberystwyth. It was pretty but impermanent, a little like playing house. Hub still had his final year of university to complete and the two of us merrily continued to live the student life.
I had my first son while we lived with Hub’s parents in South Wales, between his graduation and getting a job.
We moved back to Aberystwyth and rented a cottage while Hub worked and I stayed home with our son. It was very sweet, pretty good fun and still temporary.
By the time we finally moved down to South Wales, where we are still, the not-quite-connected to the accommodation style of living was ingrained.
We bought our first house but it never felt like home, even when our next two children were born in it. We moved after ten years and it was not one minute too soon.
Thirteen years into our second house I realise, I am still not connected to it. Despite the years and the growing children it doesn’t quite feel like mine. I am in it but not of it, it is not of me.
For a long time my mother rebuked me over my habit of calling Northern Ireland home. Each time she did I felt it a rejection. When Mum would say, you moved, Wales is now your home, I would be more determined to never call it that. Now I look at our home and admit it reflects this lack of connection. It is time to start calling it home.
Perhaps not before a little weep over what feels like goodbye.
All images © L. McG.-E. All rights reserved.
© 2012, Penbleth / L. McG.-E.. All rights reserved.