"Home" is a word that I struggle with.
I'm from St. Louis and when I go there I tell people that I'm going "home." But when I get there, it feels like something else. It isn't the same Home I left six years ago.
When I lived in Geneva it felt like Home for a while, but then my friends started to leave. So I left, too, and I surrendered my apartment to someone else. I kept looking for a place that felt like Home. I used to look for Home when I traveled, considering whether each new place felt like Home. But I've decided that Home cannot be found. It has to be made.
Belfast didn't feel like Home when I arrived; nothing felt serendipitous or fated about it. I didn't find Home in Belfast, but I've decided to make it Home. It's not always comfortable or familiar, and there are still gaps to fill. But all in all I'm happy to call Belfast Home - at least for now. But even in Belfast "home" is transient.
On the very last day of August, we moved out of the one bedroom attic apartment that we had called Home for over a year.
As excited as I was to move house, I had grown to really love the Ormeau Road neighbourhood. And, although we have only moved a ten minutes walk away, my life is starting to shape around a different street. Going home at the end of the day takes a different route. Our corner store has changed from Tesco to Centra. We have a new local pub.
But I think the hardest thing of all was that final look around the empty apartment. I took photographs of the empty shell, partly for myself and partly to contest landlord charges against our security deposit.
Inspired by my experience of this move, I'm working on a visual autoethnography exploring the idea of home and movement as experienced by millinials.