We didn´t want to use her real name. So, we agreed upon Angelina. Because she´s quite an angel. And very attractive. True story. Even if it doesn´t sound like it:
Angelina lives in a number of spaces: (1) She is renting a studio apartment in the lush green suburbs of the big city. She hardly ever spends the night there. (2) For bureaucratic reasons, her residential registration states that she is still living at her parent´s house - which is somewhere else. (3) Most of her spare time, she is with her boyfriend, at his house, in another part of town. (4) On summer weekends, she is seen at her own little countryside cottage in the midst of a fruit orchard, repairing the roof, harvesting berries and herbs and mowing the lawn. (5) Also, during summertime, she and her boyfriend move out of town, to his summer house at a lake, far from her cottage but close enough to the big city for everyday commutes.
Most of Angelina´s wardrobe is stored in the trunk of her company car. It is a huge trunk.
Angelina and I have been friends for decades. She is one of the busiest women I have ever met. She lovingly takes care of her mother. She regularly sees her brother and sister, nurtures a number of friendships, attends fancy business events being the CEO of the local subsidiary of an international company. She frequently travels the country to manage her wide spread team. For the annual international budget meeting, she flies to London. Her style is impeccable. No need to mention that she works overtime, all the time. She cooks for her boyfriend who needs to watch a special diet. It is Angelina who organizes their holiday travels.
So, while watching Angelina´s spaces multiply over the years, I have asked myself:
How does she possibly do this? Does she feel “scattered” at times? Where does she feel at home? Is “home” even a concept that she refers to? Where is her “safe haven” that fills her energy tanks? Where does she withdraw to? Does she always know where her mauve blazer is? Are all of her refrigerators always filled with edible food? Is she human? Does she have the same book on every nightstand so she can keep track of its content? Is she a new species? What is Angelina´s unique faculty that keeps her on track, healthy and sane while switching homes all the time?
I have no answer.
Is Angelina a space nomad? A person who knows that everything is ephemeral and is therefore proactively living it? On the other side, there are a number of super stable parameters in Angelina´s life: The caring for her mother and siblings, her faithful friendships, the relationship with her boyfriend of way-over-a-decade, the management position that she has successfully filled for almost 30 years.
Is the “nomad space lifestyle” Angelina´s refreshing getaway from all this steadiness? Is it freedom? Or does it simply not matter? Are some of us the “steady space type”? And others are less dependent on a given place? “Home is where your heart is”, so they say.
What is home? Is home a choice of space - or a choice of being?
© Beate Brigid Schilcher 2021-09-21