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Hometown Conversations

Sønder Felding
My 7th Great Grandfathers house Sønder Felding

Hometown – Home – Hjem

What does it mean?

There is that trite saying – “Home is where the heart is,” but that saying means little to me. My current hometown is a relatively new one, at the Home by the Sea.

Origins

Whilst my blogger colleague, Sandy has lived in many different places in many countries, I have lived in just four cities my entire life, and all four in the same country, Australia. Three in the same state. Yet it is a different country on the other side of the globe to me, that captures what most would recognize as a feeling of home. Home: that warm fuzzy feeling of sanctuary one gets when they hear that word.

I never felt that feeling in any of my previous hometowns and don’t like to dwell too much on them, much less write about them. But there is one place that I felt completely relaxed and ‘hyggelig,’ and that was the time I spent in Denmark. Danes have such a knack for creating a comforting, cosy atmosphere in their homes that they invented a unique word to describe it. Hygge.

Growing up in Australia, I actually knew very little of Denmark and even less about the town my family came from. I had seen a photograph and read a book in 1995, but that was pretty much all. The pictures in that book were a revelation and they entranced me. From that moment, I was on a mission to figure out how I could visit that magical place and my family’s hometown.

Arriving in Denmark

I longed to visit Denmark and I’d waited and saved for years. Despite this, it seemed both corny and surprising that when that SAS aeroplane, I was seated in, touched down on the tarmac of that longed-for country, I had a strong sense of relief wash over me, a sense of coming home. Could I put that down to wishful thinking and finally reaching my goal? If so, why was I so utterly surprised at the extent of this overwhelming feeling I couldn’t get out of my head? Being there at that moment, just felt right.

From Tower Ribe Cathedral Denmark

DNA Memory and Research

Some think there is more to DNA memory. That you can remember certain things through the generations and heredity.

Animals such as mice, have been able to pass on useful environmental information learnt during their lives to their offspring two generations hence, even though it was not in their original DNA. This appears to occur after a traumatic event.

Scientists have conducted studies with roundworms that indicate they can ‘remember’ information for up to 14 generations.

Don’t you think that is fascinating?

That a Grandparent or ancestor might learn a vital piece of information in their early life and you, as a grandchild or descendant might express, feel, exhibit or react to, a certain stimulus in the same way as that Grandparent might have done?

This may be what happened when I visited Denmark. Whether it was DNA, or the expression of a gene with a particular leaning towards certain environmental factors, or something else. I can’t say.

Marienlyst

Do you have a longing to a certain place? Is it your home or is it another place in the world?

Join the Conversation with Sandy and Amanda on your hometown.

54 thoughts on “Hometown Conversations”

    1. It might not be likely that you will return, R.W. but I can read that it holds a very special place in your heart. Is it out of a sense of loyalty or more due to warm memories of a past era that makes you yearn for the UK?

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      1. Difficult to say .. loyalty or upbringing .. its where I grew up and spent 26 years of my life – unless you have a very negative experience( which I didn’t) you tend to remember to positives more than the negatives. The primary reason I would not live there again would be the weather. That said I would like to have gone and spent a few years in London (probably my favourite city in world) but couldn’t afford to do that now without working .. which ain’t happening !!!

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    1. You sound like you would be happy wherever you land, Ineke. That is testament to the wonderful person you are. That is is about the people you are with, not the location rings true. But I am glad you are in NZ or else we would have never met!

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          1. You are also a very special person to me because of your love for Schnauzers. I think that was the best attraction to each other when we met. I am Ouma. Even the ladies at the kindy call me Ouma when they see me. The kiddies also call me Ouma! Very cute!

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  1. Fascinating indeed. I spent my whole childhood in one house in London – that is where I bought my first two and thought that would always be my home. Life circumstances have imposed far more moves than I would have liked, and have taught me that home is where I am. (7 years in what is probably the last)

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    1. Hey Derrick, Well done on working out home is where you are. It is an attitude and a state of mind. When I was young, I thought it would be fun changing homes – after several rentals and moving stuff, I was over it and didn’t move for 35 years. Like you, this home will be most likely our last. And we designed it with that goal in mind.

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  2. Our older daughter lives in Denmark and likes it there. She loves to travel. I should ask her if she’s been to Australia.

    I loved my hometown, but I never wanted to go back there to live. I grew up in Tennessee, married after university, lived in Queens (part of NY City), on Long Island, in England two years, and now North Carolina. Each place was home as long as we were there.

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    1. I can imagine each place was home as long as you were there, Anne. It wasn’t that I hated my previous locations. They were not Denmark, or ideal but they were home for a short time. I never wanted to return to the suburb where I spent most of my young years. Even though I had a sound and happy childhood. I just knew it too well and it held no challenge or excitement for me. I needed to move away and experience other places and locations. I still don’t think of it or my new house as home, but in time, perhaps my new location will become that.
      Do ask your daughter. It would be fun to hear her answer.

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  3. I have never lived longer than seven years anywhere in my entire life, and had seven addresses as a child, so I’m fairly rootless. I tend to envy those who have relationships dating back to their early years, and though my own children had fewer moves, I think that the upheaval impacted in a fairly negative way on them. We’ve now been here nearly seven years – and I ain’t going anywhere else!

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    1. So you have finally put down some roots after all these years of temporary locations, Margaret? I only changed schools twice as a child and while it may have been somewhat disruptive, I longed to go to school and live somewhere different. I craved new experiences. The Moth loves stability and regularity and that was great for my kids when they grew up. They think our house of 35 years, is still home. They developed relationships but not ones that persisted post school for long, so I am mot sure it mattered that they grew up in the one location or like your kids more than one. Before we moved to the home by the sea, I had grown so sick of our old house. It felt like an albatross around my neck weighing me down with all its necessary maintenance. We have designed our new home to be our final one, too. It is designed to be accommodating of our elderly years. And moving is so arduous when one is older. The knees and backs suffer greatly.

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        1. Maybe that is DNA memory operating there too, Peggy. Lol. From way way back… We either descended from African Or Indus Valley tribes according to our mitochondrial DNA…

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    1. Hi Phyllis, do you mean the little house at the bottom with the blue trim. It is the hunters house in the countryside of Denmark. A stunning example of Danish architecture. I was fascinated with it and could cope with the small rooms if I could live there!

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      1. Yes, red with blue trim. I thought someone lived there.
        Here the hunting house is a wooden shack or a small camper hooked onto the back of one’s truck.
        The more roughed goes camping.
        There are lodges for those who prefer conveyance. They are huge and elegant, and include cooks and maids.
        I bet it’s the same everywhere. But most don’t have beautiful hunting houses.

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  4. Very hyggelig post 😉 No need to say where I feel home, right? Hehehehehehe Yeah, I must have a Danish great-great-great-great-great grand father in my family tree, somewhere. I’ve traveled quite a bit, but never felt that ”coming home” feeling anywhere else. Even in the countryside, where people only speak Danish, I feel absolutely comfortable. I’m still hoping the Queen will adopt me someday, and grant me honorary citizenship 😉

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    1. Who wouldn’t want honorary citizenship in Denmark? You would have to share it with me though! I am sure you do have some ancient connection to Denmark. Have you had your DNA tested for small contributions of Scandinavian genes? Many people in certain areas of England have it due to those marauding Vikings of old.

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    1. Far more scientific than the ethereal concept of reincarnation, but I think – yes you are right. Reinvention and re-birth of the genomes in different combinations, some good and some bad, is a type of reincarnation, and I think that is why I have an interest in genealogy, but I don’t think we will reach Nirvana through DNA reproduction alone!

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  5. I’ve lived in four different cities, one we returned to after moving for work. The one I grew up in, where we live now, is the one I regard as my hometown, not the one I was born in. Having said that my father’s heritage is German and my grandmother was very German in lots of ways. We’ve been to Germany twice and both times I felt at home immediately.

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    1. Your experience sounds similar to mine, TET! It should not surprise us as much as it does. And yet, are our likes dictated by biology or environment. One blogger I know really loves Australia and the desert arid outback, (which I detest) and of course, she was not born to it, but feels exactly what you and I feel when we return to Denmark or Germany. Were your ancestors from Prussia or Pommerania? Many Germans migrated from those regions to Australia, including some from my family.

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        1. There was a lot of German immigration in the late nineteenth century on account of Government initiatives here. They encourage German farmers as they were seen as hard working and could make the poor Australian soils productive.
          I know many people who also enjoy the outback, but no matter how hard I try, it just does not appeal.
          Flying into Helsinki one early morning, I was so excited about the landscape I was jumping out of my seat. The smell was something so comforting to me. I am unsure if it was the trees or flowers, the bakeries, or something else. But I think I must be addicted.

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  6. Hi Amanda, We have been transferred a few times and I learned many lessons. One of them is how home is where we are. We make it a home. I like everything about Hygge. I have heard other people talk about how a certain place will immediately and overwhelmingly feel like home. Like you say, it feels right.

    Fascinating about the DNA memory. I have read where certain cultures believe memory is passed on to the next generations. Very interesting studies. I believe we still know very little on how our minds work and even the concept of senses. A gut feeling, intuition. A very thought-provoking post, Amanda.

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    1. I tend to believe gut feelings or intuition more strongly than ever before, Eric/ka.
      I had my palm read once – years and years ago and the reader told me I was very intuitive but didn’t realize it yet. Perhaps that is true. I totally agree that there is so little we know about the potential and function of the brain. I think we only use 30% of it at any given time. What is the remaining parts used for?
      Hygge is a beautiful concept and no wonder you feel home is where you are, if you make your location hyggelig! Much of our thinking about a place might be environmental.
      If I visited Denmark and stayed for a long while, had a really bad experience (God forbid that doesn’t happen) – my attitude towards Denmark may change. Or it might change to that very specific location.
      This feeling I have toward Denmark is a more generalized feeling – and it is very sensory. The smells, the sights, the sounds, the tastes – it is all part of it. There are characteristics that people will use to describe the Danes and coincidentally, the same characteristics either apply to me or are things that I am drawn to, as well. Even a negative experience probably wouldn’t change fundamental preferences for certain foods, certain styles, colours, art, morals, would it?

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  7. Like Peggy I usually feel at home where I am. That said home is Australasia – I have travelled wisely in Europe and enjoyed myself in many places but would not like to live back there . . . And for me and us Singapore and Kyoto, especially the latter, have for many decades been on the wish list to try . . .feel wondrously ‘at home’ in both . . .

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    1. Singapore and Kyoto are two quite different locales, Eha. Would you like to try them for the same or different reasons? I see Kyoto are very traditional mixed with modern convenience, Singapore so ultra-modern and industrially efficient.
      Why would you not return to Europe?

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      1. I have been fortunate to have been some 30 times in Singapore, oft for a fortnight or more . . . I do not think there is anything one cannot do or have there, including some of the best food and arts, ie music, theatre, art etc. It is also very safe and one can access most of the parts of Asia I love in a matter of hours: a huge difference from Australia. Kyoto: beautiful surrounds, best food in Japan and a very comfortable lifestyle just a short drive away from ‘everything’ Osaka can provide – again modernity ! Years having passed since these thoughts and plans emerged methinks Kyoto would come first these days . . Have a couple of US and European friends there still happy 20 years after . . . .Europe – I honestly do not know how to be diplomatic !!!! To say it briefly – too opinionated, too narrow-minded, too certain ‘European’ is best . . . too many manners, too many accepted mores . . . not the usually easy-going ‘It’ll do. mate’ syndrome which I find relaxing . . .

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        1. I do understand what you mean. Europeans can be fixated by manners and punctuality. Sometimes this happens in Japan too, but they are too polite to say it openly.
          Your points about Singapore are well made. It does have a lot going for it. Except climate. Too darn humid for me and Europe and Japan trumps that. I am a winter person…

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          1. Just back for a minute. Amanda: I came here as a child . . . a few decades back lived in the semi-tropics for some 15 years . . . I hate the violent seasonal storms there but am quite comfortable if the temos remain under 40 C . . .

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  8. I can certainly relate to your post. I grew up in Texas and spent a large part of my life in Florida but my heart remains in New England where we lived for twenty years.We all have a place we fall in love with even if it isn’t where we call “home”.

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    1. I can see you understand what I feel in this respect, Karen. Thanks so much for commenting and sharing your thoughts. I have the idea that New England might be a tad cooler than Florida or Texas.

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