Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My First Home Leave...

   Recently, I looked up the definition of the word "home". Most dictionaries use terms like "house, apartment, shelter or dwelling place". I also found "any place of residence or refuge" and "a person's native place or own country". But the one I like best is this one: The place in which one's domestic affections are centered.

  I was curious about the definition because all through November and the first part of December all I could think about was going "home". I spent the week before I went making lists, doing laundry, cleaning house and packing. Most of all I couldn't wait to see my parents and my kids. 

  Like a lot of other people I know, I tend to build things up in my mind that the reality can never live up to. I have done this countless times and I'm almost always let down. I'm happy to say that did not happen on this trip. Yes, we had some issues we had to take care of; a plumber had to be called for a problem with the kitchen faucet and an a/c repairman came to fix our compressor. We had doctors appointments and some other necessities to take care of, but being in our house with our family and seeing our friends was all I had hoped it would be. I knew the time would fly by but we did our best to savor every minute we had. 

  We also got to do a lot of things that are much harder to do in Italy and some that are not possible to do there. We saw 4 of the 5 movies I wanted to see (Mark is the movie lover in our family and would have seen many more than 5 if time had allowed). We ate out at most of our favorite restaurants (as the 4 pounds I gained can attest to), and we shopped in some of our favorite stores (as my 66.5 pound suitcase confirmed).

  But as much fun as all of these things were, as I get older I appreciate more and more the time spent with the people I love. My only regret for this trip was that because of time, distance or circumstances we weren't able to see everyone we wanted to see. Sometimes one month just isn't enough. 

  That's where the definition of "home" comes in. As we neared our time to return to Italy we kept using the phrase, "when we go home." There's part of me that doesn't want to think of Italy as home. It's not where our family is. Yes, we have made friends that live here but the friends I've known for years are still in the States. But the definition: The place in which one's domestic affections are centered, really got me thinking. Right now Italy is that place. My husband, whom I am blessed enough to call my best friend, lives here with me. I have a house with belongings that I either brought with me from America or that I chose especially for the space. I love to cook, paint, read and spend time with my friends here. So yes, this is my home. The place that currently holds my "domestic affections".

  Which means I have 3 homes. One in Texas, one in Italy and a future one in Heaven! I am overwhelmed with blessings! What makes all 3 homes so wonderful is I get to share them with people I love. Sometimes it's the people I live with, sometimes it's the people who visit and sometimes it's both. I am very excited to think about the friends and family from the U.S who are coming to visit us in Italy this year. I not only get to spend that time with them but I get to experience some amazing adventures with them! The same thing can be said of the friends we have living here with us. 

  I'm obviously not as confident living here as I am in the States. Honestly, I doubt I ever will be. I may learn enough of the language to get by but I'm never going to master it. The driving here will always make me nervous. I'm not going to be able to buy everything I want in the stores and some of the cultural differences will always baffle me.  But years from now when I look back on living in Italy, it's the people I'm sharing it with and the things I love doing that will make me say, "What a great place that was to call home!"

 Arrivederci for now!