In Spanish, the word casa means house; as far as I can tell, there’s no word that means home. In English, we differentiate between house and home, but often use the two words interchangeably. Lately, I’ve been wondering: How can I go home if I’m already home?
Before my recent trip home, I worried that I’d find Philly and environs foreign. I ached for home, but Thomas Wolfe’s admonition bounced around my brain. What if he’s right? What if I get home and find I pine for that which exists only in my memory? Suppose my friends can’t make time for me? These and other darker, more difficult to define notions swam just at the edge of conscious thought, muddying my anticipation.
My definition of home: where the bed and pillows are firm and familiar; the kitchen is equipped with all I need to create nutritious and delicious eats; the cats laze in out-of-the-way nooks and crannies; and Buddha follows my every move. Home is where I live now: Puriscal, Costa Rica
Home is also the place of origin; but more importantly, it’s where my family and long-time friends live. In this respect, home is Philly. My two brothers, some cousins and aunts still live there. Friends from college, work, and the neighborhood where I lived for twenty-five years before retiring are there.The various houses I’ve lived in are there, albeit with new owners. I still like to roam the streets I walked as a child, and my heart sings when I see the spires of Saint John’s Church, in Manayunk, though I haven’t practiced Catholicism for over forty years.
Philly hasn’t stood still since I’ve become a resident of Costa Rica, but the changes don’t make me sad. It’s still home, and Costa Rica is home too.