Thursday, February 20, 2014

Heimat ist Heimat, but Home is Where Your People Are

Two weeks ago, I went for my last eyebrow threading appointment with my amazing Persian eyebrow lady. She speaks no English, so we communicate in German and I act as the translator when I bring my American friends along. 

My eyebrow lady is my mom's age, and she has a son just a year or two younger than me, so she always talks to me in a motherly sort of way and often asks if my mom misses me and if I'll go home to visit. At my last appointment, I brought her flowers and told her I was finally moving back to the States.

As she was doing my eyebrows she told me, "I'm going to miss you, but think of your time in Germany like a trip. It's good for you to go to your country, to be near your mama, to be home. You could be like me, living here for 20 years and it's still isn't home. Heimat ist Heimat."

Heimat is one of those German words that doesn't translate that well in English. It's sort of like "homeland" or "home", but really what "home" feels like, the place where you feel you belong.


This is something a lot of us struggle with, whether we're expats, military families, or just gypsy souls. Where is "home" when home changes every few years? Where is your Heimat?

When you move all the time, Home isn't always a tangible thing. Georgia feels like home to me, but so does Germany. I feel at home walking down the streets of my grandmother's neighborhood in Paris, just as I do driving through the small town streets of my American grandma's rural Southern town. I feel at home in Berlin when I ride the S-Bahn, and I feel at home when I pass a Bavarian roadside crucifix when I walk near our house. I feel at home when I hear twangy country music and when I bite into a perfect French eclair.

Every place I've lived has a little piece of my heart. More than anything, Home is where my people are. If I'm with Fionn, I'm home. If I'm with my family, I'm home. When I'm with the great friends I've made around the world, I feel at home.

And if my favorite coffee mug is there, it's even more "home".

Home is where you are

When I left my eyebrow's lady's house, I gave her a big hug and said I would miss her. "Don't worry!" She replied, giving me a kiss on each cheek, "Even when you go to America, you will still have a place here in Germany. I have an extra bedroom for you and maybe your children, inshallah! You will come back!"

Heimat is where the heart is!

13 comments :

  1. I love this post, and the idea that home is a feeling and not a place. I moved around a lot as child and still have trouble with the word 'home'. But your eyebrow lady- and you- are both right, it's where your family is and where your friends are. That's what really matters :)
    xx

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    1. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who feels like that! :)

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  2. So true... Home to me is where my people are, it's not here, it's not in our last location and I know one day I will get back to it! :D Wish I could find an eye brow lady here, I do have to wait to go back to London to get mine threaded! Good luck with everything!! :)

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    1. If you feel like going to Nurnberg, I can hook you up with my eyebrow lady! ;)

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  3. um, you have a secret eyebrow threading hookup in Germany? I thought they didn't exist lol

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    1. Yes! She's in Nurnberg. 5 euros and she does it out of her house. I can hook you up! ;)

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    2. please do. what's the scoop? Is she German?

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    3. She is Persian. You have to be introduced to her, but if you go with my friends (all other army wives) the first time, after that you can make your own appointment (provided you can speak German, otherwise you'll have to get a German speaker to call her for you). Email me at shannonthemrsblog@gmail.com and I'll send you the info :)

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    4. Okay, my husband speaks good enough German I guess. I'll email you if I plan on going to nurnberg at some point :)

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  4. Such a sweet lady! Home is a tricky subject, though I agree, that it's where your people are. What a blessing to have so many places to call your home :)

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    1. It's funny, even though I'm "home" with my parents, my heart is in so many other places too. Weird how that works!

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  5. I relate to this so much! My home is scattered in a handful of places around the globe, but usually it is where my husband and my dog are. I'm apart from them until the end of March so thankfully I'm back at my mother's house in Texas and that feels like home too :)

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    1. That's true...Mom's house always feels like home to me :)

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