1. A dwelling place together with the family or social unit that occupies it; a household.
I'm not really very sure where 'home' is yet. I went 'home' to Scotland last week, yet when I came back to France, I was going 'home' too. Can you have two homes, I wonder? Is it possible to feel equally happy and at ease and all the other lovely feelings that come with being at home, in two completely different places?
I remember when I first came to France I was slapped across the face with a big, wet, culture-shock fish. I really questioned whether or not I had made the right decision in moving to this country, wondered if I would ever belong here. Despite trying hard, I just couldn't see myself ever understanding the French culture, or fitting in with the fashion, or knowing the language well enough to get by in day to day life. I couldn't string my sentences together and when I could I wondered what it was that was so funny about what I'd said. I really truly wondered how long I could stick it out for.
But with every week that passed by - without even realising it - I became more and more French...Well, okay let's not go that far, but I certainly found myself relaxing and becoming more comfortable with who I am in France. I found myself almost fitting in and began to find my French personality. I began to feel more at home here.
Last week, when I went back to Scotland, I had it in my head that everything was going to be so easy - a total breeze. I tried hard to remember a time when I didn't have to think so hard just to ask someone for directions, or being able to jump in a taxi and not be taken for a tourist and charged unreasonable prices. After six months of feeling like a mis-matched, over-colourful,
I was proved wrong and the world stopped spinning on it's axis when I sat down with my parents to watch Coronation Street last week. I mean hang on a cotton picking minute there! I went away for a few months and come back to discover that Liam's been murdered and Rosie Webster had been kidnapped by John the sexy but now obviously insane school teacher! And Fizz has lost a whoooole lot of weight! Suddenly the muscle in my eye began to twitch and I felt uncomfortably bemused. I've missed so much, it occurred to me, I have no idea what's been happening!
The next five days saw me discovering that Jade Goody has cancer, several of my childhood friends are pregnant, that I have no clue who was in Big Brother last summer or who won Britain's Got Talent or that Fern Britton had lost so much weight (and that it was all down to a gastric band - shock, horror!). I found out that our milk doesn't get delivered to the doorstep anymore and unamed from up the road had an affair with unamed #2 from the next village.
And even worse, dear readers! I went into Glasgow to spend the money I had purposefully saved up in order to go on a mad spree in my favourite high street shops only to come home with a heavy purse that jingled and a heart heavy with disappointment. Would you believe it? That has never happened to me before! For it seems I am not fashionable in Scotland any longer. I didn't like anything that I saw in the shops (what's up with the saggy-bummed shorts over tights, British girls?). I feel as though I am some kind of Alice in my own topsy turvy wonderland where instead of wanting to buy the shop out, I find nothing whatsoever, not even a pair of socks. Have I already crossed over to the other side? Do I seriously prefer the fashion this side of the channel?
Am I...becoming French?!
Stop! No! I really amn't anywhere close to becoming French and I don't want to lose my Scottish identity. I don't exactly fit in here; not in fashion, not in personality, not in celebrity gossip or soap-watching. But the fact is, I don't fit in that way in Scotland either. Not anymore.
Have I made the transition to being half 'n' half? Am I Scench? Frottish?
I struggled towards FP, my suitcase stuffed with cheddar cheese and my supply of winter coats taken from home. He was leaning against the wall, the yellow Arrivals sign like a beacon above his head. When he saw me he shook his head and laughed, spotting the two bags full of duty free perfume and whisky I was carrying and took my luggage from me, before giving me a lingering welcome home kiss.
The truth is, apart from missing my friends and family (and hairdresser) a lot, coming back to France filled me only with happiness. Reunited with my man, he took me home to our apartment where I was greeted by our cat who for once didn't hold my absence against me and followed me around the apartment, purring. We spent the evening on the sofa watching DVDs and holding hands and chatting intermittently, feeling at ease, relaxed, chilled out, at home.