Homesickness when there’s no ‘home’

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Homesickness quotes

When I posted a short piece about the word hiraeth, I included a list of quotes about homesickness.

hiraeth Welsh word for a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return

A sharp-eyed reader, Marilyn Gardner, pointed out that the quotes I’d selected weren’t pertinent to a certain portion of the population; Third Culture Kids who find it hard, if not impossible, to truly define where ‘home’ is.

In her words,

“Perhaps it’s because I’m a TCK myself and have lived as an expat raising TCK’s but none of these quotes were helpful to me, leading me to yet another realization that the TCK’s concept of home is more like that of the immigrant or refugee.

The authors of the quotes have a clear definition of home – they are thinking of a place.

Some of the things people have written as comments on my blog are here:”

Home is wherever I don’t have to explain where I’m from…

Home is where your suitcases are opened and stowed…for however long!

On an international flight… where nobody can understand each other’s funny accents, but where everybody understands it doesn’t matter for the next 17 hours, where nobody is from the same place, but everybody knows it doesn’t define you, where I can finally, in the last place I expected, feel at home…

It seems as I go through life and as I move around, I just add more and more layers of meaning to the word ‘home’!

Poignant, and much food for thought.

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  1. The daughter of an expatriate teacher, I recently wrote a short story (free to read) on the pain of being uprooted, as Marilyn says very well below, parents are not always aware of the strong feelings that moving back home can generate: .

  2. Thanks so much for linking to the article. What I find fascinating is the difference in thinking of expats and their children. Expats know where home is – while they often live all over the world, they know home. Their children struggle with the concept of home. It’s not a bad thing but it’s an important distinction. So many expats get excited and talk to their kids about ‘going home’ and their kids go along only to find once they get there that home eludes them. It’s a fascinating conversation.

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