Value 5: Security and belonging
It has taken me weeks to gather up the courage to write about this value. Simply because this is what I ache for the most, even though I do belong.
There is no simple term in English to express “Geborgenheit“. It is more than security an atmosphere of warmth, and belonging somewhere or to someone.
As a child, it used to be so clear. I belonged to my family, my home was our house, I felt at home there and in my room. Later, it might have been my, or rather our, first flat and his arms that gave me this feeling. Home was always comnected to a relative proximity to my family and hometown friends, too.
However, I have moved nine or ten times in the last seven years, and each time I left something else behind, another part of “home“ behind. I remember when I first moved, I wanted to take all my stuff with me. At the second move, I had given away some clothes and books. At the next move, I had sold some furniture, and so on. With each move, I moved lighter and gave up on stuff. The personal items I still own today are personal, and when they are in the place I live, it feels more like home – whether the flat is in rural Germany or western Austria, does not matter. Being surrounded by beloved books, pictures, fotos or nippes given to me by people I care about bring home to whatever place I am living in.
Yet I still wonder: how do I know where I belong? I am a German living in Austria – here, I am a stranger although my friends here would disagree. When I move through town, I do not accidentally meet childhood friends or walk down memory lane in one part of town. I have no past here, no roots. If anything, it is the people that care about me that make this home and give me a sense of security. The same is true about my hometown – it could be wherever, as long as my parents, my sister and my friends are there. Though I lost some friends between the fifth and sixth move, I’m afraid.
Opposed to that, whenever I feel lost, I need Italy. I have no Italian roots, but I know a part of me belongs there – maybe the truest part of me. It seems crazy.
I pondered this for a long time, and the explanation is simple: there are places in this world that allow me to be just me. The most real version of me. Italy does this 100%. Vorarlberg partly does this, too, otherwise I would have left already – the lake and the green speak to my daydreamer self. San Francisco welcomed my free spirit.
Consequently, there are loving and caring and unique people that allow me to be myself, and they are from different nationalities 😉 I consider myself lucky in a way; I am belonging to different homes in different countries thanks to different people. I wonder where – or is it more honest to say with whom – my heart settles one day, if ever.