Every time I leave a place for ‘home’ I am filled with a special kind of warmth that brightly coloured walls, tiled floors, and flower fences cannot give; for if they could, I would find this warmth in the embrace of any roofed four walls. Home is at a house, a place, but home is neither the house nor the place alone. It is much more.

Home is the place engulfed in familiarity. Even the sounds of wind blowing and birds chirping distinguish themselves from those of places we have been before. They are more soothing and inviting, and remind us that we can enjoy soundness here. The familiarity promises comfort and safety, allowing for the privacy to strip oneself of the faces we wear in the wild. To be oneself at last. Home is a safe space.

Home is also in the arms that are familiar and safe. It is with the people who live in the same houses as us, in the ones next to us, and anywhere else our families, given or chosen, reside. It is with grandparents, parents, and children. It is with everyone that has raised us since, indeed, it takes a village. It is also with the people who may not look like us, talk like us, or live like us, but with whom we coexist and manage to belong. Home is where a community of our beloved is.

Home is a blend of our communities and the spaces in which we live, both conspiring to remind us of who we really are and who we were before we rubbed shoulders with the world. It is in the embrace of greenery, in architecture that allows us to experience nature in ways that are refreshing.

Have you seen how quietly nature calls attention to itself?

Home is sweeter when a ray of sunshine slices through your window asking you to join the birds in singing, the fog in clearing, and the day in starting anew. Under a canopy, in the surrounding of trees, and on a carpet so green; in the presence of colourful petals one’s renewal would begin with one’s involuntary response to nature’s call.

Home is many places. Places we have lived and carry with us, those where we left pieces of us, those where we can comfortably return, and those we have framed on the walls of our houses as a reminder of what once was and our hope to return. As long as these places are safe spaces with a community of our beloved, in response to nature and those who ask where we are from, saying ‘here is my home’ could also mean ‘here is my hope’ because home is just as comforting, refreshing, and assuring as the warmth of hope.

Uwera is a writer and software developer. She's majoring in Computer Science. She runs the blog Both Art and Artist