Years ago, after we had moved here, but before it really felt like ‘home,’ I remember a conversation I had with my husband in which we discussed what made a home a ‘home.’
When we landed at SFO on our return, my mind immediately popped back to that conversation. We never were able to fully answer it at the time, and I’m not sure that I could now, but I’m going to try my best.
San Francisco’s climate is definitely one thing that makes me feel San Francisco is home. There is something hard for me to describe about our characteristic mix of humidity, temperature, daylight, winds, and smell of the air – but while I can’t exactly put my finger on it, it feels like home. As often as I give the fog a hard time, something about San Francisco’s climate feels subdued and mellow yet also serious and perhaps almost mystical to me. The longer I’m in town the more it just blends into the background, so I really notice it when I arrive back in San Francisco. I find it incredibly comforting, like a gentle and friendly hug that says “Welcome back, we missed you.”
Home, to me, is also defined by routines, habits, and patterns. Home is where I feel comfortable enough to leave the cap off the toothpaste and where my favorite brand of milk is readily available in the store. Home is a shared context for banter at the grocery checkout, corner market, or coffee shop.
Is home a physical entity? Absolutely, but that’s not enough. It’s something more than that, which I have a very hard time putting into words, yet I can very much feel after an extended absence.
What makes a home a “home” in your mind?