I usually like to keep things pretty light around here but something has been weighing on my heart for the past week or so that I just had to share. And it has to do with belonging.

As Henri and I were boarding our flight back to Boston last weekend, we overheard one of the passengers ask another “are you headed towards home or away?” I turned to Henri and jokingly said “Good thing they didn’t ask us, that would be a complicated answer!” Even though I had been kidding as I sat there, drifting in and out of sleep for the next five hours, I realized how much truth there was in that statement and I began to think…

… where is home?

… where do I belong?

These two questions are really hard for someone who has basically lived a bi-coastal life for the last 6 years. They are questions I have been wrestling with ever since the summer I left for college.

I am a born and raised New Englander – the first 18 years of my life were spent cheering for the Sox in the summer, apple picking in the fall, braving snow storms in the winter, and enjoying the smells and sounds of new life in the spring. These seasons were the rhythm of my life and every fall that passed in California when I missed the leaves changing colors, every time I listened to “Let It Snow” with the windows rolled and the warm, 90-degree air blowing through my hair I missed Massachusetts like crazy.

Cheering on the Sox at Fenway!

Cheering on the Sox at Fenway!

But as we all do, I adapted to my surroundings when I moved to California for college. I discovered the beauty of farmer’s markets, realized that I had never had “real” Mexican food before in my life, went surfing, and was even convinced to try sushi (and found that I actually liked it!). I found the love of my life my freshman year of college and just a month later was welcomed into his family with open arms.

My first ever bite of sushi!

My first ever bite of sushi!

Both Massachusetts and California feel like home – I have family, friends and have built a life in both. But when I am in either place there is always something that makes me feel like I don’t belong. In California I’ll say “wicked cool” and the person I’m talking too just gapes at me. And in MA I’ll ask someone at the grocery store where the queso fresco is and they honestly have no idea what I’m talking about. It is almost as if there is too much Boston in me to be Californian and too much California in me to still be a “true” Bostonian.

Summer days on the beach with our pups!

Just a normal day in Cali!

After we returned back from our trip for Monet’s graduation I was worried that I don’t belong in Boston anymore. When we were back in California there were things that just felt so natural about being there. It felt a lot like home. For some reason, during the 6 years I lived in California I went through periods when I was so frustrated to be “stuck” in California but the truth is living in California is an important part of my life story.


I would never have found paddle boarding in MA!

As I have been thinking about these questions and processing everything over the past week I realized something that brought me a lot of peace. Home doesn’t have to be a physical location and it is possible to belong in many places. While Boston and California are both so different from each other, they have both shaped me and made me the unique person that I am and I wouldn’t change that for the world!

So where is home? Home is wherever my hubby is and we are surrounded by family and loved ones. Home is wherever we have been placed for the time being, and where we choose to build our lives. Right now that is Massachusetts but who knows – one day it could be California again!

And where do I belong? I belong with family and friends that accept me for who I am and who I have become as a result of my journey through life. As long as I have the confidence to be myself – a Norwegian girl from Boston, who likes her Mexican food spicy, is obsessed with fall, desperately wants to own a paddle board, and loves using a mixture of three languages in one sentence – I think I’ll be just fine!

What does home mean to you?

Where do you belong?


25 thoughts on “Belonging

  1. Home is wherever Joe and our pups are but I know what you mean. I lived in England for 3 years and it never felt like home, yet after less than a year in Ohio, it felt just as much like home as where I grew up. I hope wherever we end up next makes me feel like I belong!

    • I can imagine that it would be really hard to feel “at home” while living in another country. I studied abroad in Italy for 4 months and even though it was really fun and I loved the adventure I never really got that feeling of belonging.

      I hope your next stop really feels like home too! Best of luck! 🙂

  2. This is tricky for me too. I have lived in Baltimore for about 13 years now but i grew up in NY, so that is where I always thought of as “home”. But now my parents don’t live there any more, so when I go back is feels really weird! I have gradually been able to start feeling like home is where my husband and family are, but it took awhile!

  3. This is beautiful! I often think of myself in the same way, I’ve lived all over and still haven’t “found home” yet. But the more I think i’m super different the more i’m the same, almost everyone is from somewhere else, it’s just about the people your around 🙂

  4. Woah I can relate to this SO much. My real “home” is in NH but that doesn’t really feel like home for me. Boston does, although I’ve never lived there, and Rhode Island does obviously since it’s where I spend the majority of my vacations. Baltimore never felt like home but now whenever I go back to NH, i feel so out of place. And pretty soon, I know Baltimore won’t feel like home either because I’ll just be a visitor. It’s weird thinking about the concept of home and where we belong, but I do believe home is where the heart is, and 9 times out of 10 the heart is with family. So in those terms, you belong in both California and in Boston 🙂

    • Awww, thanks Sarah. I do feel like I belong in both Cali and Boston. Its so cool to know that I have two “homes” but also really hard because that means that there is always someone that I care about that is far away.

      I can’t wait to watch you find your home after graduation! It is so exciting that you are going to be in Boston and closer to family! 🙂

  5. Great post! I lived in Haleiwa Hawaii for the first 18 years and then have been in AZ the rest. So, almost the same sitch you’re in. Hawaii will always be “home” for me. Its the place where a lot of who I am was established by my upbringing…if that makes sense. Here in AZ I call it home as well and to be truthful, would never move back to Hawaii. I have grown ‘roots’ here. I met my wife here, and have raised 3 kids here. You know the saying, “home is where the heart is”… so, I guess, anywhere we go, and we are at peace with whatever makes us happy, that’s where home is. Wow, you actually got the Silent Assassin to open up….lol. Stay blessed!

  6. Great post – and I totally relate. I left Ireland almost 10 years ago and when I go back it kinda feels like home but not quite. I then lived in Scotland for 5 years and that never really had the “home” feeling for me. Now I’ve been in Utah for over 4 years and I feel it’s my temporary home. It’s were my fiance is, and we have a great life here but I still feel like I’m searching for my forever home.

  7. I have always lived in the south, and can only imagine how lost I would feel if I lived anywhere else. Probably like a stranger in someone else’s home. When we bought our first house, my husband and I both frequently commented that it never felt like home. I think that is because home is what you make it, and we didn’t know how to make it feel like home, as we had always had someone else (our parents) do that for us. I hope you continue to adjust to moving back to Boston while embracing how California life changed you.

    • Isn’t it interesting that it really does take some effort to make a house a home? I guess the same can apply to town/state/region. You can live somewhere but if you don’t make an effort to settle in and make memories there it will never feel like home!

  8. This is such an interesting subject as the moment I left home for college, I became a floater. I didn’t exactly feel like college was “home” and then going back to where I grew up was a different experience than I predicted. Now as I live in NY, away from anyone I knew growing up, I’m starting to think what is home? For me it means two differ met places – where my family is but also where my routine is. For now that means two different sides of the country too.

      • I think I mentally prepped myself for the switch enough that I really didn’t have a tough time. Sure things are different but they always are 🙂 the time change is nice for calling home when my parents are out of work!

  9. As a military brat, I can tell you that home is the place that influenced your speech, accent, behavior, and outlook the most. So I consider myself a Connecticut Yankee, even though I lived there just 8 years of my 31! Because my hard, cheapskate, ironic little self is not going to say “Miss” and “y’all” no matter how long I live in Louisiana.

  10. I also relate a lot to this! I grew up in Southern California until I was 14, we moved to Minnesota and I stayed there until I was 26, then I moved to Utah. I always say I grew up in high school, but my home now is in Utah. I think I belong here 🙂

  11. Ah yes, I understand this well. For the majority of of my life, I moved a minimum of twice a year and this trend continued with the exception of 2 years during which I moved not at all. Naturally, defining “home” is quite a challenge. Many years ago, I deduced that home for me is not a specific location, but rather any place with one or more family members.

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