Monday, October 31, 2011



About 7 years ago, when I was in junior high school, I was forced to enter an English speech competition. I had a case of the nerves back then so I did not like the idea of speaking in front of so many people. Plus, it was about a week before the competition when they told me I had to enter. The combined force of my teachers and parents in the end made it clear that I couldn’t get out of this one.

The competition was held by a domestic furniture company that had opened a new branch in my hometown. The theme was, if I remember correctly, “My Dream House” (or was it my ideal house?). But I do really remember the house part. “House” not “Home”.

So there I was making a speech about wanting a house with 2 or 3 floors, elaborate interior designs, complete with a swimming pool. We were talking about a dream house, weren’t we? But in the end I stated that the most important thing about it was that it had to be comfortable and cozy. I had to enjoy living in it too.

So I went to the competition and… I didn’t win (haha). I wasn’t too surprised. My manner wasn’t great and I was still holding on to the text (I hadn’t had time to memorize it properly). However, I was shocked to find that the first and second winners had amazingly similar speeches and they were talking about a dream home, not a dream house. Their speeches talked about how their homes needn’t be big, but it should be filled with family love and care etc. A touching speech, yes, but predictable (LOL, I’m being harsh, I’m sorry).

Anyway, I got over the loss quite quickly, since I never wanted to compete in the first place. But I was annoyed at the theme’s choice of words. I don’t mean to be a sore loser but honestly, if they wanted a speech about the perfect home, my speech would’ve been so different.




To me, a house is different from a home. “House” is just a technical term for a place to stay. Just a structure symbolized with a triangle on top of a square. It could be made out of bricks or wood or even metal. It could be big or small, fancy or simple. It doesn’t emit any sense of emotions for me. I could say… it’s just a house.

But a “home” encloses a cacophony of emotions and feelings. It’s both shelter and sanctuary. It’s a place where you feel attached to and gives you a sense of belonging.

You can call a house yours once you buy it or when somebody gives it to you. But you can’t buy a home. Plus, the whole concept of its ownership is more complicated than a bunch of paperwork.

My family and I have moved to plenty of places throughout my life. We have moved both inside the country and outside of the country. So we have had to let go of our houses repeatedly. I used to think that we were letting go of our homes, my home.

I had a rough time getting over selling our house in Mataram. We had lived for nearly 10 years there. We had just finished renovating it from a small one-storied house to a medium sized two-storied house. We had a nice garden and a yard big enough for parties and gatherings. The house became a witness to many events: my childhood, my teenage life, my family feuds, my friendships, my relationships… So when we had to move and sell it, I felt like I was losing the history and the memories. I had lost my home.

It was hard to adjust to the new place. It was not only different, it was in another country. I felt like an alien. I thought I could never call it home. I missed my old house badly.




Time went by and a lot of events took place. They were the kind of events that made you realize that family was so important, so vital in life. They were events that made you realize that in times of great trouble or despair there is nowhere better to be than where your family is. They are the beings that make up your sanctuary: a place where you can feel safe and calm.

So after one and a half years, I could finally call our new place my home. I can finally miss our new house, my new room, our petite garden, and the monochromatic walls. Everyone who makes it a home is there.

We haven’t lost the history or the memories. We’ve just brought them along to our new place. And we’re ready to add some more.





Philosophically, there is nothing wrong about something new. Change is needed sometimes. Dynamics in life make life itself interesting. Moving on is essential.

The best part is, we can look forward to the great chances and possibilities yet to come.

Savor it.

No comments:

Post a Comment