Heima

One way to situate yourself abroad is to start to live in the language of the place to which you’re headed.

Check out this great, if sporadic, blog from a group called The Department of Iceland Things, based in a harbor workspace not far from where we’re staying.

In their entry on heima, the Icelandic word for home, where they muse: “Because [humans] are so small and helpless and sometimes lost, they need a shelter to make them feel less small and less helpless and not so lost.

When they are in this shelter, they say they are heima.”

To be lost is often the first moment in writing and knowing the land: accepting that we are finding the path, coming to understand the geology, working out the narrative. What words might help you both feel lost and sheltered as you travel?

One Reply to “Heima”

  1. When I arrived in Italy for the first time in 1977, with no Italian blood in my veins and very few Italian words in my vocabulary, I felt a strange and joyful sense of belonging. I have since gone back to Italy almost every year since then to explore that sensation. I am not Italian when I’m in Italy, but I’m not a foreigner either. I have always found myself in an unnamed third category. I think you just named it, “heima.” Thanks.

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