© 2017 by Maria Vandenburg

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  • Maria Vandenburg

Feeling and Being "At Home"

Updated: Oct 16, 2019

I'm just entering into week three of being back at home in Seattle for the summer and that concept has really resonated with me recently. I have found myself thinking of what does it truly mean to be at home? What is my concept of home?


Two fairly significant events happened within the last couple of weeks, the first was quite scary, the second was lovely.


I have just moved into a new apartment in Seattle to cover a maternity leave for my job. I was placed on the third floor in a unit that felt very cavelike and overlooked the parking garage of the building next door. As I am currently actively reading all about Mary Magdalene (you know in my spare time), I decided to embrace this and make it my own inner cave/sanctuary/what have you.

A few days into living here, I noticed that the building and the parking lot next door are pretty much abandoned. I saw a young man walk by a few times but didn't really think any thing of it (there was a space of about 2-3 feet between the window/balcony of the unit and said parking garage). As I was still battling jet lag at the time, I was up late reading one night and then turned the light off to go to sleep. A few minutes later this young man appeared again, this time shining a flashlight into my room. I was so freaked out! What I know now is that there is a security team in place here and I could have immediately gone down to them. What I did at the time was head down to the leasing office the minute they opened and explain that I no longer felt safe in the unit and ask to be moved. Within 12 hours, I had a new unit a few floors up and facing an opposite direction. It was so unsettling, but by the end of it I was able to be in a new space (which I love) and once again feel safe.


The second event, is much better. My grandmother's 90th birthday was on July 6th and that brought most of the family over to her place in Poulsbo, WA. While there was a running on joke on how it would be nice to carry around a tape recorder to not have to repeat the same stories and updates again and again... and again (as most of the family does not see each other often, with the extension of our immediate relatives), it was still really lovely to see everyone and to catch up, even if some of those moments were entirely too brief.


The Cousins of the family (you can see one of them smacking my head - ahem, Miles)

The larger family - my grandmother is next to me in the pink

So all of this reminded me of the concept of home, what does it mean to me to feel at home? For me it comes down to feeling safe, comfortable and surrounded by loved ones. The place has come to be somewhat irrelevant, the concept has not.


It's made me appreciative of all I have in the current moment.


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I'll love you forever... well I will probably do that anyway but still <3