Home. What is home? The place where we grew up? The room that we share with our sister? The lap of our mother? The orange orchard of our grandparents? An entire city or a small room rented in a house full of people? It is walls and a roof, windows and plumbing but this is only part. It is mainly that indescribable feeling resembling cuddling while we shut out the rest of the world out there. It is to know what it will smell like, which of the boards screaks, what light will not turn on, what’s the trick to turn on the heater and in which window the sun strikes first in the morning.

I love my home. After years of sharing this is my first just-for-me-home. Home hunters on a budget know the terrible things out there for rent and the time and luck needed to find something you like and can afford. I loved my house as soon as I walked in. It had the right energy and even with just a bed and a fridge I did not want to leave it. More than three year have gone by and I like more every day. Truth be told, it is too hot in summer and too cold in winter, and it has a strange window in the kitchen, and it is not even in one of those neighbourhoods where I always wanted to live, and once I arrived and had a bat in my bedroom, not to mention cockroaches that appear from time to time and the next door neighbour watching TV with the volume at its maximum, but I love it, more and more as time goes by. A good home is like a good relationship. It grows with you. I think homes are so magical. They are not only a scenario, they are part of the play. We relate to our homes as we do with the people there are in them, and if we are lucky and do the work, the love grows and strengthens.

Home is comfort. Safety. Cosiness. It’s where we wear our pyjamas. Where there are always our favourite cookies. Where we put up the Christmas tree. It is where we have dinner on the sofa or fill the table with friends. It’s where we can cook barefoot, sing terribly in the shower and dance around the house in our underwear. This is where we return when we come back from vacation. It’s where we take refuge in bad days and where we live through some of the best. It’s where we can watch all the embarrassing TV-shows we want and order Chinese for three even though it is just for one person. It’s where we heal colds, hangovers and dislikes and laugh until we cry. It is where we keep our books and hang our pictures. Our home is who we are.

My dream, when I was a little girl, written several times in elementary school papers, was very specific: to live with Ritinha in an apartment opposite to Feira Popular, an amusement park in Lisbon. Feira Popular does no longer exist and I do not live with Ritinha but I got my 55m2 of happiness. I am now one of those little lights I used to see in the distance, sitting in the back seat of the car of my grandparents returning from a trip, and this is one of my favourite thoughts. I love to sleep and know that there is a whole building around me, other boxes with other people and that throughout the city there are children being cuddled in tiny beds, couples talking in bed, others falling asleep on the sofa, there are people brushing their teeth, others returning from walking the dog or going out to work, and they are all of these little lights, like me.

 

This text was originally written in Portuguese. Click here for the original version.