Is home a place?

Home, it seems, is the theme of the week.

First, good news. The contract isn’t signed yet, so no guarantees, but it looks as if we have found a house!

Six hours after I published my last post on house hunting I was about to pack up my computer for the afternoon when something made me pause and think again about doing a google search on houses for rent in Luang Prabang.

I didn’t hold out much hope. No one I’ve met here has ever found a house for long-term rent online. But, after half an hour of plugging in various search terms and finding exactly nothing, something popped up that I really liked the look of.

Mike and I went to see it that night. There was no one there when we drove up, but the woman at the guesthouse next door made a call for us. Forty minutes later, two women showed up on a motorcycle. Then we sat there for another fifteen minutes while they tried every key they had brought with them, in every door.

No luck.

We were, however, in luck in other ways. We were on our way out to dinner and just happened to have a student intern with us who spoke Thai fluently. He was able to talk with the women and arrange for us to return the next day at noon.

“I have a good feeling about this,” I said to Mike, later that night. “I think this is the one!”

“How can you have a good feeling about this?” Mike asked. “We haven’t even been inside yet.”

“I just do,” I said, a little disappointed that Mike was apparently not going to join me in riding my wave of unusually blithe optimism. “I think we should move in.”

“Watching you during this whole house hunting process has been a real treat,” Mike said, not looking as if that statement were entirely true. “It’s been like seeing the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle in action.”

When we showed up at noon yesterday, however, my good feeling was not disappointed. While the place is not without some minor drawbacks, I like the inside. I like the fact that it’s situated about halfway in between Mike’s office and town. I like the fact that it’s set off from a paved road behind another house. I like the fact that it has a fireplace with no chimney attached.

Actually, I don’t care about the fireplace, except insofar as it’s deliciously odd.

So we’ve signaled our interest. The owners have signaled that they would be open to us renting. Now it remains to be seen if the contract gets signed. Fingers crossed that all continues to go well, on all fronts, with all powers that be. And thank you to anyone who lodged any type of petition on our behalf.

On other fronts, my non-blog writing this past couple of weeks has also been entirely occupied by the issue of house and home. While Mike is at work I’ve been spending most of my time sitting either in Joma or the guesthouse, writing. I’m rethinking, revising, rewriting, reshaping, the draft of the book I wrote last year – a memoir dealing with home.

This week I’m grappling with a chapter that looks at the issue of home as a place. This is probably a complicated issue for many people, for many reasons. But when you grow up moving frequently I think the issue of home as a place can become particularly problematic. What do you think about this issue of home and place?

That’s all from me for today. I’ll be back next week. In the meantime, whether you’re at home or not, I hope you have a great weekend!

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20 responses to “Is home a place?

  1. Lisa, I hope the house is as fine as you imagine. No water connection issues, no electricity problems, comfortable mattresses, quiet fans and maybe an airconditioner would be nice! Hey, dare I mention the Satellite TV idea? I know it may be pushing it….perhaps not. Keep your chin up – I know it’s hard and challenging in so many new ways. Thanks for keeping us in the loop with your new life.

    • Thanks for being interested! And given your past year I know you’ve got sympathy to spare for house dramas. Yeah, very happy with this house possibility, and we got the email this morning saying the owners are happy to rent and that we can move in at the end of the month, so one more baby step down the track. Still holding my breath a little until the contract is signed, hopefully this week. Hope you guys are going well.

  2. I think love of a place can make it home. A friend shared this word with me: topophilia

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topophilia

    Enjoying reading about your journey – it’s a great way to live vicariously! Be encouraged and of good cheer.

  3. Can’t wait to hear more about your thoughts on whether home is a place… And if not, what is it?

    • Hey Alexis, Yes. Hmm. Good question. One I wrote this book trying to answer for myself. Now I think I have a better idea of the themes with place etc, but am having the woeful realization that much of the draft will probably need to be rewritten. BTW, I logged into the ning group, posted a photo (which is sideways for some reason) then lost the net connection. I’ll try again next week. Hope your own writing is going well!

  4. Home….something I’ve struggled with myself…more often than I care to admit… and will likely do again.

  5. Is home a place? Hmmm….well, that depends on whether or not you consider the “place” to be something that is tangible or intangible.

    For example, our Daddy’s Home is a place, but it is not tangible to us; well, not yet. 🙂 But still, it is real, very real and very much “home” for all those who are in our Family. We can’t touch it, see it, smell it or reach it with any of our natural senses, but in our hearts, in our souls, through faith in His Son, we are able to sense the most important aspects of any home: love, peace, joy, rest and refreshment.

    It’s been said, “Home is where the heart is.” And if one’s heart is with our Daddy, then one is “home” no matter where one lives. ❤

    I'm still speaking to Daddy on yours and Mike's behalf, sister. ❤ I'm looking VERY forward to hearing about what He has chosen for you two.

  6. Thanks for your thoughts Sunny! I love hearing people’s take on home. I’ve been working on this book for a year now and still peeling away the layers of the onion when it comes to images and thoughts.

    I’ll keep you all posted on the house. I’m feeling really good about things at the moment! Have a great rest of the weekend.

  7. Very interesting question. Our house has been “home” to a lot of people over the years. It’s been a constant for some who haaven’t had a constant in their lives. Coming here evokes a sense of roots and belonging for some of them that they don’t have somewhere else. It’s a place that looks and smells and feels familiar and warm, a place where there are people who have been there for a very long time, waiting, holding open the door, always ready to welcome. It’s also a memory some of the time that if they need it to, can become reality, it’s STILL here.

    For me, home also means the place where I spent my formative years, even though I’ve lived in my current location for 36 years and was only there for 17.

    Over the years I also considered the place where my parents resided to be home, that’s where the books, the smells, the furniture, the food the customs I new and loved could be found folded in the hearts of the two people who nurtured me so well and whose rooms, voices and thoughts and hearts I will miss until the day I die.

    Home . . .constantsy, shaping, nurture!

    From your American home/mom, love you!

    • Thanks for this Bobbie – beautiful and touching. And, yes, I feel a lovely, homey, sense of familiarity when I come to your place. It’s so lovely to know you guys are still there. Sending hugs and love.

  8. Home… now there’s a loaded subject 😉 I am so grateful for the home I have come to know and love in the places where God has blessed me with the love, safety and warmth that makes it home by definition! On a practical note, I am really happy ya’ll found a place to move to soon, know I am praying. You are both in my thoughts always.

    • Thanks Paola! Yes, all seems to be plodding along with the house. All going well we may even be in on August 1, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a bit later than that. I’ll be delighted to update when everythings signed, sealed and delivered!

  9. I have a tck friend in England who does most of her art around the theme of home.

    Ahh… it’s something I’m not at peace with at all.

  10. Me either. Back to the first draft of the book today. I need to read the whole thing through and decide whether to do a massive restructure upon rewrite or not.

  11. I used to think of home as a place, but as time passes that place that once meant “home” to me feels less and less like home. The people that meant home to me there are mostly gone, replaced with new people that don’t mean home as much. After my last trip to Alaska, I realized that home is much more just being with Aaron than any place in particular. This can be a problem as well because “home” sometimes leaves for a weekend to go on a BMX trip and this leaves me feeling unsettled. Ultimately, I’d like to find “home” in my relationship with Jesus… but apparently I’m not quite there yet. I try to be patient, but much to my chagrin …it’s baby steps for me. 🙂 Just for once in my life I’d like to take a real, adult sized step!

    • A “real, adult sized step” ha ha ha!!! Sigh. Yeah. I’ve been working on this manuscript on this topic for a year, and finally figured out what I think I want to say on home. And now I’m thinking of making it a sub-theme. Plotting is not my strong step. Nor are real, adult sized steps.

  12. Lisa, I love that you are writing a book about the idea of ‘home’. I can’t wait to read all of your thoughts 🙂 Recently I’ve been talking with a lot of friends who’ve traveled about the idea of a particular city/country feeling like our ‘heart’s home’ even if we’ve only been there once.And how it is that we have those feelings of comfort, even when we are just getting to know a place. I will be curious to read about all your variations on the idea of ‘home’. Hope you and Mike are well! I love reading about all of your adventures 🙂

    • Thanks for coming to visit the blog! Writing ont the book’s going well, at present. This past week I didn’t want to bang my head against a wall once… which is a really great stat for an entire week!

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