When I told my dutch colleague, 3 weeks ago, that I will be in holiday, she asked me what will I do. And without any thoughts I told her “I will go home!”. She said “What will you visit in Netherlands?” and I said: “I will go home, in Romania” and she was somehow confused, she said “Oh, that’s home”. And yes for me, one home is Romania.
At the age of 18 I left Botosani, my hometown, in order to study in Bucharest. For 10 years I was between homes: on Easter/Christmas I was home in Botosani, for the rest of the days I was home in Bucharest. Now home is in Haarlem. What surprised me, after 4 months of absence, were the people on the streets: if in Haarlem you see people only in weekends, in Bucharest, in the middle of the day, people were all around. And it was strange for me to hear all the talking, to see them on the bench with their grandkids. You don’t see this so much in Netherlands, in our neighborhood, during the week, you see maybe 2 persons in the evening walking. I didn’t spent so much time in Bucharest, because I was in hurry to go in the north, to visit my family. So I left from home earlier (before the bus timetable) in order to walk a bit on the same route I had when I was going to work. I was surprised trying to find the button for pedestrians at traffic light and also I was shivering each time I heard somebody talking – in Netherlands, on the streets, you don’t hear so much Romanian, so I got used to eavesdrop each time I was hearing my native language. All in all I felt like a stranger in Bucharest, it was like I was 18 again and I was searching with my mother a place to stay for one week. I realized that, even if I lived in Bucharest for 10 years, it is not my home anymore – just another city I lived in.
The trip to Piatra-Neamt took about 8 hours. All the way I was reading “Dance, dance, dance” by Murakami, a new obsession in the last month. In the book the main character is drinking all the time, so when we had a stop for lunch I enjoyed a Romanian beer. It wasn’t even 12, I didn’t had any breakfast or something, but reading only “I opened a beer, now I drink, it’s so good” I was like in a trance and without a beer I wouldn’t be ok. From Piatra-Neamt, where I visited my sister, I went to Botosani. I needed to wait for my sister (I have 4), so with my backpack I walked through the city, to the known places. Behind me I was hearing 2 elders saying “Look a tourist!” and I was so amused. Now I am a tourist in my hometown. It felt kind of strange, because the city is different from how it used to be when I lived there.
So where’s the true home? They say home is where your soul is, but what if your soul is just broken into pieces? What then? Do you have a home for each part of it? For me it’s clear, I will always have two homes: one in Botosani (even if by time I will be only a tourist) and one where I live. And now the home is Haarlem.