*54* musings

It occurred to me a nights ago that this June will be 30 years since I finish secondary school. Incidentally it’s also 30 years since I left Italy but that’s a different story. (Or is it?)

Anyway, I got thinking about the people I had spent five hours daily with and set about to retrace as many as possible to organise a meet up. How easy was that??? The first email address (found by simple searching a name and a profession) was replied in less than 20 minutes. The ball was rolling. The first phone call turned the little ball in a huge avalanche and within 24 hours we have a huge Whatsapp group chat and 80% of the people found and onboard. Some of them stayed in contact with each other, others have disappeared. People have got married, some have divorced, not everybody has children, there are doctors and dentists and pharmacists, teachers, housewives, lawyers and who knows what else. Some live in England like me (and I didn’t know!!), some in Dubai… some have written books and some are poets… some are Classicists and researchers, others love horses and ride everyday… some are in politics… some in business…

Fascinating.

I can’t wait to spend an evening reminiscing and catching up.

This is most of us, probably I’d estimate this being from 86’/87’… not sure, could be later. I’m the one wearing the white sweater on the right of the photo. Eyes closed. Bad fringe, but it was the 80s after all.

I don’t have any real ties to that time and that place. I left a few months after the end of school and never really returned aside from a few visits, and I often wonder why. Why don’t I feel the tug of belonging. Why don’t I feel ‘lost and unmoored’ after all that’s the town I was born and grew up in … (well up to 19yrs). I don’t know. I like to ‘pop’ back. Nothing has changed. I can walk the centre of town with my eyes closed. Yes, the shops are different, it’s tidier, prettier, but it smells the same, the light is the same. It’s a strange feeling.

Which brings me to the next question… what makes you feel a sense of belonging to a place? What defines you? Is it… people? Is it the geography? The language? What give you a sense of identity? Is it the colour of your skin? Is it where you live? Where you were born? Is it your traditions? Your past? A mix of any of the above? I’m researching this subject for an assignment and it’s a fascinating subject, and I would really love your answers because frankly I find it extremely difficult to form a coherent reply for myself.

5 thoughts on “*54* musings

  1. My sense of belonging is a feeling within myself. It isn’t tied to people but tied to places. Places where you just feel right, where the noises and smells are familiar. Where the light always falls just right. Places where I feel at peace with a sense of deep recognition. Funnily enough they can be new places I’ve never been before. It can be a building, a beach, a hill, a path, a smell. I can close my eyes and get a sense of complete calm – all stress is gone, a sense of calm and serenity. At one with everything around me.

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  2. Although I was born in Southern California, it wasn’t until I reached the Pacific Northwest that I felt that I had come home. It is the dark trees, sea & mountains next to each other, and the soft air. In my mid 50s, after living here in Washington state for 30 years, I moved across the country to Vermont for a job for two years, and then to the San Francisco area for ten years for love. When my husband died, I had to get back to my Northwest womb to grieve and heal. It’s done its job!

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  3. This is really fascinating as a topic and has come at just the right time for me to consider as I have just taken the leap and moved from Surrey to Verona. At the moment my husband is in the UK and I’m trying to get things like an apartment organised whilst working a new job, in a new place and in a totally new language (that I have a much worse grasp of than I though).

    I’ve been here three weeks, living totally out of my comfort zone and yet somehow it feels like I’ve been here so much longer. It all feels natural (certainly in the office, if not quite in the home life). I can’t put my finger on what it is, but it just feels “right”. Even in the chaos of being apart from my most loved ones (and in this I include my cats who I miss dearly), and in the frustration of trying to find somewhere to live and the concerns about paperwork. Not once have I not felt like I’m exactly where I should be. I’m now wondering if maybe all the good food and wine is the answer….

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  4. I don’t belong to any place. The south of England is the closest I have to a geographical identity. Growing up my dad was in the army and we moved every 3 years or so. When I was 16 my dad came out the army and we settled in Bath but I left home at 19 and continued to move every couple of years (mostly within London). In my thirties I had my children and lived in Ruislip for 5 years which at that time was a personal best. I’ve now lived in the same town in Oxfordshire for 13 years but it’s not my hometown and neither is Bath even though my mum still lives there.
    For me belonging has to do with people.

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