15 January 2011

Going Home

The idea of "home" is often linked to ideas about personal identity and self-image.  A knowledge of history can teach us many things about our identities, both in an individual sense and as part of a community.

If home is a place of cultural familiarity, what happens to the meaning of "going home" when that familiarity is lost?  My cultural background may be regarded as British, but what does British mean, especially for someone who has spent most of the second half of their life in Australia?  Is Britain or Australia my home?

What does the idea of "home" mean to you?

Have you ever been homeless or homesick?

Whenever I am in a crisis situation, which fortunately has been quite rare so far, I tend to have a "stiff upper lip" attitude. I do not like too much fuss, or too much attention.  I do not like being overly praised or to receive a gushing, exuberant welcome.  Nor would I want to be hugged or kissed by a stranger, or even asked an intrusive question by one.  This applies at both the best and worst of times.

Have I really been "British" at all?  Are my behaviour traits a sign of emotional reserve or even coldness, or are they a sign of maturity, of being educated, of being independent, of being mentally well balanced, of being cultured, of being middle class, of being Australian, of being British, or of being English?  How do you label yourself in relation to your idea of home?


Here are some Wikipedia links you may like to explore (even though a few of them have been linked from my blogs before):


British people

Britishness

Stiff upper lip

Culture of the United Kingdom

English language

History of the English language

British humour


People perceive each other in many different ways.  If I made a complaint about poor service or shoddy goods, would some of the less informed Australians around me just consider me to be "yet another whinging pom"?   If you read my four blogs, you will see that I rarely complain about anything, except injustice (especially injustice towards others).

Some of the best trained people to deal with difficult situations, especially difficult people, I have found to be the cabin crews of full-service airlines (but not necessarily on the low-fare airlines).  They are far better than I am in dealing with conflict and rudeness, and at diffusing difficult situations while remaining elegant and charming.  Perhaps politicians, police officers, military people, customs officers and security staff could learn from them.


Here are some more links to think about:


BBC News - Why is service still so bad in the UK?

Wikipedia - Flight attendant


I am still not sure where my home is meant to be.  It is not so much about a place as about people.  It is about community, of a sense of belonging, of feeling comfortable around other people, and of feeling secure in their presence.  Do you sometimes feel more at home when on holiday than when you are at "home"?

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