Last week I got back from a trip to Morocco. I sent my brother a text just to let him know I had made it home safely. He was confused.
Home like England? Or home like your hostel?
Home home in England. I replied.
As opposed to home home home in Oakville?
He was making fun of me, but it was a valid question. Where is home?
When I messaged my brother, I meant my mouldy, semi-suburban flat on the outskirts of London where I’ve been living for the past six months while attending school here. In London, if I talk of home, it’s usually in reference to the snowy Canadian winters I never thought I would miss until they were gone. Most days I pretend this is a ploy to blend in with the local population, known internationally for their near-constant meteorological analysis.
When I’m not discussing the weather, I’m usually bragging about the creative, personal, and academic pursuits of my friends ‘back home’ in Toronto. The tidbits of information posted on social media tether me to the life I left behind in Canada while reminding me how far away I’ve been. Occasionally, when I get a letter or phone call, the space between countries can be made to feel quite small.
Sitting in the airport, waiting for the flight that would begin my trip to Morocco, Sophie, my travel companion and fellow artistic producer, pulled out a small gift from some of the members of Off-Key.
A little more than a month ago, we held a small dinner for members of Off-Key to spend some time together socially. I say we but, living in London, I was unable to attend. At the time, I felt very far away. But then, sitting in the airport, that distance collapsed instantly as Sophie pulled out a make-shift card. A paper napkin salvaged from the dinner, decorated with a heart which looks like it’s primary purpose might be to mask an oily smudge and signed by everyone at the dinner in celebration of my birthday.
A collection of names. My friends and collaborators. The community of people who would take the time to wish me well from across an ocean.
These are my hills.
I am of these people and these stories.
And I can’t wait to come home.
- Carmen Kruk
Carmen Kruk is a co-artistic producer at Off-Key. She is currently living abroad.