On Motherhood & Sanity

Sunday, May 2, 2010

On home and identity

I’ve come home.

Once, and if I’m very lucky twice a year I fly home. Like the birds fly east in the winter, I come home to my family, to my food, to my language and my traditions. Once a year I touch base with my roots and my past.

Home for me is Spain. And although I grew up in Madrid, for some time now whenever I come home I fly south where most of my family has relocated to. It is nicer for the kids. It is always warm and there is a beach. There are six cousins, a pool and a trampoline, a set of (very attentive and spoiling prone) grandparents, and some uncles always ready to pay special attention to them.

Needless to say my children are over the moon here. Coming home to them is the best holiday, and this is important to me because I want Spain to somehow become their home and their roots too. I want them to fight over their toys in Spanish, to be familiar with the menu at a restaurant. I want their childhood to be bathed in Spanish sun and fed on Spanish tapas.

Spain is also my adopted home. I was born in Mexico, and my parents are Peruvian. And although I was only six months when we landed here, I left again when I was eight. I lived in the states and south America, and came back when I was fifteen to finish high school and go to university. I was away for some pretty determinant years, but I was also back for probably the most significant ones. Bottom line is home is where my family is. Not my extended family, they are still back in Peru, but the family I grew up with; my sisters, my brother, my parents. They are my home, and they are making Spain home for my children too.

I left Spain when I graduated from college and have never lived there again. In the last fourteen years we have moved eight times. My daughter was born in the US and my son in Thailand. To add insult to injury my husband is a Dutch born Italian who was mostly raised in Hong Kong (when it was still British,) so the issue of identity is a pretty big issue in my household. At least we agree that we are European and Mediterranean, but already my husband has chosen English as ‘his’ language with the kids, because he feels more at home with it than Italian, which was once his mother tongue. It scares the living daylights out of me to think that my children might not be fluent in Spanish. It’s too alien to even consider as a possibility, even though I understand that I will have to work hard to avoid this.

I read a blog this week, someone who had chosen being close to family over quality of life and the ramblings over this decision. For us and because of the type of work we do not really have the option of moving back to either in Italy or Spain, although we do hope to stay in Europe. We are tired of the fairground attraction and are looking to settle down.

We are hoping to find a new place we can call home. We want to own something that we can do up according to out needs and tastes, (furniture shopping is usually defined by weight and how easily something can be dismounted). We want some permanence, and hopefully at a place where we can all be happy, not to far from our families, with good quality of life and possibilities for work. Aim high they say. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

But no matter what we do or what the future brings, I will continue flying home with my family once, or hopefully twice a year, to build memories and roots together with my new family here, because no matter what and how awkward it might seem to some, Spain will always be "home" to me.


Vicente said...

HOme is for me where i arrive after a bad day's work, and where I find a warm, touching and love welcome.

Personally I don't bond homes to places -other than this planet-, but more to sensations.



angelica said...

glad you are choosing to stay in this planet for the time being... :-)

you might feel different after you've been away for some time

Diana said...

After living with "portable roots" for some years, my feeling is that home is not where I was born, or where I find every evening my "better half", but where and when my family (husband, children and grandchildren)are together.

Alex @LateEnough said...

I am shocked that my home is in Virginia. It's THE SOUTH and for a Yankee (as in a New Englander, not a United State-er) I would have never though that. But I feel more at home here than anywhere I've lived. Even though I have loved those places more. Maybe if we moved to London, I would find my home too. But I can recall how easily I have found my people here. Even if I struggle with fitting in (I kinda think that I'd bring that struggle anywhere). It's hard to explain. (clearly)

Jordan Dey said...

Nice post, Angelica. Love your writing and your insights...
Jordan Dey

Mirko said...

Oh, i know that feeling
I have lived in several cities now, and i can say that Santa Cruz, in Tenerife, it´s the only place that feels like home, where i most feel comfortable. And it will always be like that.