Since I recall, Christmas Eve has always been my favorite day of the year. There was something magical about the Christmas holidays, and I always felt a pure feeling of delight while I impatiently waited for the 24th December to come and kick off the celebrations.
I remember those days when I couldn’t imagine feasting it away from my hometown, and I still remember with pain those trips my parents planned for that particular period of the year. It didn’t matter that Santa was still delivering his gifts wherever we were, that whole idea of us away from home didn’t appear right to me. After a few attempts my parents gave up on the idea of travelling during Christmas day and the four of us could reunite for an intimate home-cooked dinner before moving in front of the fireplace where “Trading Places” was waiting for us. Finally, once the movie was over, we would have headed to the town center where I and dad would have waited for mum and sister to come out from the church and enjoy a glass of hot chocolate and a slice of traditional Panettone.
A few years later, Christmas Eve became a day of celebration where I, my partner and my friends would reunite for an unforgettable night out. I simply loved it.
The first Christmas I voluntarily spent away from Italy was back in 2012 when I was living my Australian dream. On one side I was euphoric because I could spend such a special day down under, but deep down a pinch of sadness took over, and I ended up missing the one place that in my mind was still home.
Then, in the past three years everything changed, firstly I did.
I grew up; became independent and (I admit) a bit crazy, enough for that powerful bond with my hometown to abate.
And now, while I’m on my way to Verbania to celebrate Christmas with my family, I feel somehow disconnected from the place I was born.
Instead of thinking about it with affection and nostalgia, I feel rather detached from it, and the reason being that it reminds me of the amazing guy I left behind when I decided to become a nomad and of the insecure and unhappy person I was back there.
Naturally, I have lots of pleasant memories from the place I grew up in but somehow in my mind, those hundreds of happy moments matter way less than the dark years spent struggling to understand who I was and which was my direction. And because of that the word “home” quickly assumed an entirely different meaning.
Some people say that home is a feeling rather than a place and I couldn’t agree more.
To me home is not the place where I spent 26 years of my life, is not where my belongings are stored and not even where my family lives.
Home is an abstract concept, an inexplicable sentiment that follows me while I’m travelling the world.
Home is the feeling I have every time I’m in a place that I love and appreciate.
And so every time someone asks me where home is I stop for a second and think of the best answer to give, the one that makes sense to someone that has a normal life and doesn’t change apartment/destination every few months. But there is not such an answer, there is no sentence which can sum up the feeling I have when I wake up with a smile and the certainty of being in the right place at the right time.
So feel free to ask me anything but don’t expect me to give you a reasonable explanation of my concept of home.
It’s one of the many things that make me different/weird.