Feeling home

As we moved once more and are experiencing again what it takes to start “feeling home”, I’ve been thinking about what it actually means. The question of what “feeling home” signifies has also been reinforced by the fact that Aimee and I are adapting at a different rate to our new home; it is not a secret, but it did make me think why that would be. So, in the last few weeks I have been pondering about these questions surrounding “feeling home”…And here is an answer as far as I have been able to figure out.

IMG_3842It was actually while I was in Thailand, having jetlag and not being able to sleep, that part of the answer came to me. I had actually noticed that I felt pretty quickly very comfortable in Thailand, had even a sense of feeling at home, even though it was the first time that I was in Thailand. Why would that be? How could I feel so quickly “at home” in a place I had never been? Upon some thinking, I figured that food was actually a big player in this. The Thai food was very familiar to me and linked me back to two “homes”: Davis and Vietnam (Vietnam was not really a home, but I enjoyed living there for 5 months and all the trips back have for sure familiarized me with Vietnam). In Davis, we ate quite often Thai food and in Vietnam, the food was somewhere similar. But what brought for sure memories back of the great time in Vietnam and a sense of “home” was the similar little restaurant along the streets of Bangkok where you can eat a tremendous variety of delicious food; just like you could in Ho Chi Minh City.


Now, as many of you know, I don’t have a very sophisticated palate; not to say, no sophistication at all. But it seems that the basic taste I have is sufficient to create a sense of familiarity. While rolling around in my hotel bed in Thailand, I realized that when I think about different places I have lived that I quite often think about the food of that place: For the DRC it is the moambe, the bidja with some lovely palm oil; for Vietnam it is the very fine cuisine of a whole variety of vegetables and meats; for Belgium it is the “frieten met mosselen”, the beef stew in trappist beer, the chocolate. Hence, food is, in my mind, central to places where I’ve been and it allows me to create some sense of familiarity if I go somewhere else. For example, the bidja of the DRC allows me to really enjoy the Ugale in Kenya, the pap in South Africa, the fufu in Ghana, and the sadza in Zimbabwe, creating a sense of familiarity and “home”…


While thinking along this lines, it also allowed me to solve another mystery…as indicated in a previous blog post, I have become a bit of a chocaholic since we moved to Switzerland and I really wondered why that all of a sudden happened. The answer is: it links me to Belgium, on old home and hence gives me a sense of home here in Zurich.

But most importantly, I figure that part of the puzzle of why I feel already quite at home here in Zurich is Aimee’s cooking: her pasta’s and curries make me feel at home, no matter where we are…And being able to share it with Aimee makes me feel even more at home…


5 responses to “Feeling home

  1. Jo. I really got hungry reading your blog. Can’t wait to share some good cooking with you guys. George

  2. Well thought out observations and a lovely tribute to Aimee!

    Sent from my iPhone

  3. I don’t know. I felt a bit disappointed at first, expecting some more sophisticated intellectual interpretation of what “feeling at home” means … but then made me thinking that maybe it is because I always end up cooking my italian style wherever I leave, that I can easily leave in different places without missing home much. But I also think this is a “first” emotional reaction to leaving in a new place. I believe it takes much more than food to feel at “home” … and Aimee maybe your “home” more then her cooking :0)

  4. sorry for misspelling … “live” of course! but what do you expect from my writing :0)

  5. Food certainly can create a home feeling. I often thought about it while travelling. As far as I’m concerned, I need green and espacially trees make me feel at home

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s