Ask Me Anything: Home, homesickness and Coke rooms

Ask Me Anything: Home, homesickness and Coke rooms

Ask Me Anything is a series of questions given by my friends and answered by me, Angel! If you have any questions that you would like me to answer, or if you’re just plain curious about me (because I am such a superstar), feel free to send me a message!

1/ How do you define home?

I made a blog post about this last year, and I think this is my working definition of “home”:

Home to me for the past years have been a psychological phenomenon, a place where you can be yourself and where you are surrounded with the people that you love and who love you. A place where the most authentic “you” can flourish, and where you have the freedom and the state of mind to create, express and just be yourself. Simply, somewhere where you can be comfortable, happy and true. It is a bit different from the traditional definition of home, which is a more physical and non-flexible entity (and most usually refers to “where you came from”). Mine is a more mobile definition, perhaps a skill I have adapted to to match the currents of my life and/or a truth that I have discovered. I believe that you can be at home anywhere.

In addition: a much older blog post circa 2009, when I was moving around from Sweden, to Spain and to the Philippines, unsure where to go next, but absolutely sure where my heart lies.

what’s on my bedroom wall: a big outline of sweden, made out of blue lace. there’s a map of stockholm: norrmalm and gamla stan and sodermalm. and a map of the tunnelbana, the green and red and blue lines criss-crossing one another. looking at them now, i realized that they don’t mean anything to me anymore.

what makes my heart leap now: the lines of your face, the way you look at me, your words, your touch.

what’s happening now: i’m falling in love with people, instead of places. finding home in a different kind of way.

To sum it up, home is a place where the most authentic “you” can flourish, and/or a place that can be found in certain special people. Since you change, and other people change, homes can change too. TA-DA! What an epiphany!

2/ What is homesickness for you? (For some reason, I think that you don’t really associate homesickness with not being in Manila. Or do you?)

I don’t necessarily associate homesickness with Manila, because I don’t really feel “at home” there. Although, I DO miss my mother and my friends, and the feeling of being part of a warm, everlasting community and being loved in a particular way, which can only come from someone knowing you for decades and seeing you grow up. I think that is something irreplaceable.  I also miss the food, of course.

Homesickness can be felt anywhere, especially for cosmopolitan people: it can also be closely related to the feeling of “homelessness”, the feeling of disconnection and dislocation. Every cosmopolite can relate to the sentiments evoked by the Kings of Convenience song “Homesick”: Homesick. Because I no longer know where home is. But isn’t that just plain loneliness in the end, when you come to think of it?

The way to combat this nasty feeling is to know and accept and internalize that you are living a different life from the majority, and home cannot just be a simplistic definition, at least not for us (stop comparing yourself to others). Home can be many places all at once, and in the hearts of the many people who love you (spread all over the world!) Get on the computer, write a letter to your best friend, skype with your mom, connect and be less lonely/ homesick!

3/ What happened to the Coke room? (Remember this room under the big Coke sign in Stockholm?)

Photo: Marthin Sühl

Jobelle visited me in Stockholm during the summer of 2010. It was a great time! I remember pointing out to her “my Coca Cola room”: a top floor apartment in the Södermalm district, close to Slussen metro station (my favourite district and favourite metro station). It is my dream apartment. It also felt so personal because I am a Coca Cola addict and a big sucker for romance. Wouldn’t it be the most romantic thing if I ended up living in Sweden, in an apartment in Söder, overlooking Lake Mälaren and the entire city, with a Coca Cola sign as my nightlight?! Ahhh.

Just like how Jay Gatsby had his own personal green light to gaze into, I have my Coke room as the symbol of my Sweden dream. A concrete, yellow-ochre and beige, neon-lit embodiment of my hopes and dreams. Something that is mine to hold on to.

I don’t know what happened to the room nor who occupies it, but I do know that my dream is still there. 🙂

Here are some pictures of me and Jobelle during her fun-filled visit! All photos by Jobelle:

4/ Will it always be Europe for you? (To live, work, grow old?)

I think so! I loved Europe ever since I can remember, and I’m really enjoying myself here. I feel that the authentic me has been given a chance to grow and flourish here. The creative scene is very good (although sometimes I feel like a certain dynamism is lacking) and I like the fact that I don’t need to be scared walking home alone at night or getting mugged while riding public transportation. I like the fact that I ride a bicycle, and so does my boss. Living in the first world leaves a generous amount of space in your head to pursue your dreams and creative endeavours.

But who knows how I will feel about Europe in the future. I mean, the past six years I was clearly convinced that it would always be Sweden. But now I’m living in Holland. Things happen in life and it’s okay to change, it just means I am human and not a robot. Who knows what the future will bring? Being open is the key.

5/ Any new projects (creative, crazy, simple, life plans, etc) that you have in mind? (We never got to do our Manila art scene critique blog!)

Right now, I am busy working with Arts Holland and I am loving every minute of it. However, in a couple of months my contract will end and I will have to find a new job by then. (Offers and job interviews are very welcome! Contact me, potential boss.)

Personal ongoing projects include DJ-ing as Ice Hotel. Life plans: a trip to the Philippines at the end of the year, and a move to Amsterdam is also on the horizon, just need to make it happen!

This set of questions is brought to you by the awesome Jobelle Tayawa. Jobelle is one of my friends from way back (1st grade?!), we rode Tita Nelly’s school bus together even if we were attending different schools. She was wearing a colourful pink and blue uniform, mine’s stark white and maroon. Fast forward to college where we crossed paths again and found a shared love for creativity, artistic endeavours, indie music and general coolness. Jobelle is currently a globe-trotting, motorbike-riding art director and 1/2 of the Bad Ass Co. See her work at http://jobelletayawa.com/

And! She is currently competing for a spot as a luxury hotel tester in Europe! Vote for Team Cool ‘n Poor, and help send Jobelle to Europe (so she can also visit me and we can have amazing adventures again!) Vote here now (and prove that you’re not a robot!)

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