(Written on a BA767, sitting in First Class, from Tel Aviv to London)
Home. What is home? Is it the city where you live? Where you were born? Where you sleep at night? The question of home has been a recurring theme with me during this time, and something that given me a lot of cause to pause.
Dictionary.com defines home (as a noun) as :
1. a house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person, family, or household.
2. the place in which one's domestic affections are centered.
3. an institution for the homeless, sick, etc.: a nursing home.
4. the dwelling place or retreat of an animal.
5. the place or region where something is native or most common.
6. any place of residence or refuge: a heavenly home.
7. a person's native place or own country.
8. (in games) the destination or goal.
9. a principal base of operations or activities: The new stadium will be the home of the local football team.
10. Baseball. home plate.
11. Lacrosse. one of three attack positions nearest the opposing goal.
Geez, that was a lot of different meanings, but I think you get the idea here when I'm talking about "home".
As a Canadian, my home is Canada. I was born there and I've lived there my whole life.
As the grandson of Agnes Aitken McKintyre, born in Shettleston (Glasgow), Scotland on June 30th, 1909, my home is Scotland.
As a Jew, regardless of the level of my level of observancy, my home is Israel.
I have always said I feel at home in New York City. That it was the city that made me feel most alive. I still feel that way. I feel at home there. That said, it is not my home.
I don't identify as a Canadian, since for me being Canadian so often means finding difference between other countries and how we do things in Canada.
I felt at home, and connected to the past, in Glasgow, and Scotland and general. I felt welcomed and alive. Invigorated. Like voices and spirits from the past were talking to me.
In Italy, I felt like I was welcome and connected to the way Italians lived their lives. In fact, my Italian accent is far better than my French, and I've never taken any Italian language classes. It just feels right.
In Portugal, I also felt connected to the country and the people, in large part owing to my close ties to the country through my friends Marcos and James.
I can say that Israel can be my home any time I want, but it is not my home.
Toronto is my home.
I am a Torontonian. In the good way, not in the Toronto-is-the-centre-of-the-world/Canada way.
Here is what I missed about home.
Having the chance to tell Jodi about my day, and listen to what happened in her day. Cooking/baking for her while she's working, watching TV and/or I'm listening/watching TV and/or listening to music that makes me vibrant and vital.
Black Camel sandwiches (had one yesterday!), Burrito Boyz Halibut burrito, Mill Street beer, Beau's beer, The Globe & Mail, my dear friends/family (Remember you choose your friends, but not your family), my parents, working/earning a cheque, grocery shopping, cooking and baking in my own kitchen (and with my own utensils/appliances/pots/pans), Friday dinners with Wally & Gitta, access to my clothes/not living out a rucksack, wearing any/all of my Nikes, listening to any music I want to, watching TV in English, not having to figure out what people are saying to me and being able to ask/answer questions without difficulty, reading eye/NOW/fab and Xtra! weekly, free events around town, green spaces, the Distillery District, Church Street, Queen Street, my slow cooker, having a fridge and freezer, the wine/chocolate fridge, drag queens, Halloween on Church Street, working out, wandering aimlessly along a street just because I can and knowing where I am/was, admiring how areas have changed while at the same time being horrified at what happens to others, the revitalization of Regent Park and being close enough to my nephews, niece and new little cousins that I can see if so inclined.
The TTC. I love their simple, yet woefully under-developed subway system.
Our bed. Our bed is a beautiful thing. Right now it's in storage, but it's there and closer as we travel from Tel Aviv to London, and then London to Toronto. Mind you, until we have our own mailing address, it's going to stay in storage. This makes me sad.
Irn-Bru and San Benedetto iced tea. These are things that I can get in Toronto. I could get Irn-Bru in the UK and San Benedetto iced tea in Italy. I could not get both of them in one place. Except Toronto.
Our scotch collection. Also, the tequila.
I'm sure there's more, but that's what comes to mind.
It's a state of mind.