At the time, I agreed. My birthplace was Greensburg, Pa., and she and I were then living in Cleveland, but Loretto, Pa., place of my alma mater, felt most like home to me. There I'd discovered myself as a lover of literature and learning, found my creativity and spirituality, and began to understand the essence of relationships.
Today, however, I disagree with her definition. Circumstances have taken me to many different places, and I've sampled lots of lifestyles: country, small town, suburbia, island, city. I'd say that you are home when you've found your place of comfort and connection.
For some it really is their birthplace. My sister lives in our childhood home. She spent her career teaching less than 25 miles from there and has retired in place. Greensburg is her home.
Others become comfortable in suburbia in a way that was never possible for me. They find connection and enjoy putting out octopus arms where I felt isolated and trapped.
My passion about North Caicos exists because I had an immediate sense of connection to the place, even on our first trip. The combination of beach, people and warmth overrode all those mosquitoes and lack of amenities to make me feel as if I could really live there. And time has proved the initial feeling to be correct.
I was surprised to discover the same feeling in Shockoe Bottom. Even though this urban neighborhood is far from my beach and warmth (except in the heat of summer), I get the same feeling of comfort.
It's nice to know that there are different places to suit the soul. What's sad is when people find themselves stuck in an unsuitable place and can't find their way out. Worse yet, some don't even realize that the source of their unhappiness might be as simple as the place where they live.
A sense of place is, to me, as important as our other senses. Because home really is where the heart is.