Home: Refugee Week 2009

What does home mean to you? When I left Denmark in 2006, I spent the last few weeks living out of my suitcase and sleeping on friends' floors. I liked this sort of transitory existence because I knew I was moving from my old home in Copenhagen to a new home in Glasgow. What I did not know was that this transitory existence would continue for almost a year.

I moved to Glasgow with a suitcase. Twenty-four boxes and a chair followed quickly. I slept in a proper bed and I had a wardrobe for my clothes, but the place never felt like home. My keys did not work, my books were all in boxes and my name was not on the door. This is when I learned how important Home is.

If you do not have a home, you will not feel like you belong. If you do not have a home, you will not feel like you have rights. If you do not have a home, you do not feel safe. If you do not have a home, you will not feel whole.

We moved, of course, and I have a home now. We have bookcases (and need more, quite frankly), unwashed coffee mugs, internet connection, window sills with an ever-growing collection of clay pipes, a cupboard of yarn, and a view of green treetops. I have we because home is not home without David.

Moving to Glasgow exhausted me, mentally and physically, and mine was a voluntary move - I cannot begin to imagine what an involuntary move somewhere (caused by war, famine or persecution) would do to a human being.

(Thank you, Katherine, for alerting me to Refugee Week Scotland)