This is the word used in English. In German, there are two different terms: There is “daheim” and then there is “Heimat”. Heimat describes more the original home and sorroundings, one stems from, including a certain countryside, people, language, feeling and lifestyle. Whereas daheim describes more the actual residence or home of a person. I like this differentiation.

Especially people, who left their original home to live elsewhere – maybe even as far as abroad – will appreciate the difference. As their new residence might well become home after a while. But the original, root and core home – the Heimat – will stay a defining part of themselves always. There is no getting rid of it.

I heard two thoughts on HOME recently, that captured my thoughts.

  • Home is, where the obituary notices mean something
  • Home is but a memory of a time

The first one refers to daheim, I think. The actual home, where peoples names mean something – a person, a friendship, a neighbour, a customer…

The second clearly refers to Heimat – this memory of a place and time long gone, still striking a certain familiar chord within. If one never left ones place of birth, one might not notice there is a change. Until one becomes really old and everybody, who still might remember the times and circumstances, places and people of ones upbringing and later life, is gone. This is the time, one might start to feel as stranger. Forlorn. Like people sometimes feel, who left their home. Living at a place, where the others do not know, what it is like, feels like, even means, when …..(here place anything dear, nice, familiar, frightening, funny and so on). All the things not transportable over time and distance. Only known to folks, who come from the same stable at about the same time. Precious lot!