Words by Jada Mae
Photography by Siâ Irv
Home can undoubtedly be anywhere, and the most unconventional or unexpected places.
I moved to London nearly 2 years ago and for longest time struggled to find my place here, and never called it home. In fact, I was always extremely adamant on never referring to it as such. I don’t think it was until these last 8-9 months where I really began to find my own…really started to feel like a Londoner and truly believe I was home. I think home is more than just a place, but a state of mind. I’ve only ever referred to one place as home and that’s always been Toronto. I lived there my entire life, all of my family & friends were there and my first love as well. I think it would be fair to say that since I’d not experienced anything elsewhere, why would I ever refer to anywhere, including London, as home?
Over the past year I have experienced a lot of personal growth as a young black woman, living and trying to find her way in London. Of course, being in a foreign place has it’s challenges, many of which I was sure would be the end of me, but like the stubborn headed Leo I am, I never gave up. This however, was by no means done alone and without the amazing people I’ve met, that have supported me along the way. They’ve made this more than just a pit stop on my 2 year visa, but my second home.
I think home is all about the love you feel somewhere, and whether or not you’re ready to embrace that scary unfamiliar feeling of letting go, owning your circumstance and just living freely. The love I feel here in London absolutely has everything to do with the amazing people I’ve met all over this unique city. I’ve met complete strangers, most of which being strong & kind-hearted women who have welcomed me into their lives with open arms, and without them I honestly do not believe that I would have been able to make it. And of course there are the men we meet, who have more of an impact on us then we care to admit. Some seem to come and go like the wind, while there are only maybe 1 or 2 that leave a lasting impression on you, whether it be good or bad.
Unfortunately being on a visa has it’s way of putting everything in perspective because when it comes down to it, I inevitably have to leave this place that I now call home.
I’d kind of given up all together on meeting anyone here or thinking that it may still happen seeing as how I’ve got this expiration date stamped on my forehead. But I did.. of course it always happens when you least expect it but shit, I don’t think I ever felt more at home in this city, then when I was with him. I didn’t feel temporary or that time even mattered. We both knew the clock was ticking but it was him who told me to just think in the now and not worry about tomorrow and that we’d deal with it the time came. It was a brief yet lovely and eye opening moment in time for me, one I’m not sure I will ever forget, because he made it home. For however fleeting it was, I knew in that moment that this is what home is supposed to feel like.
I think when you start to feel at home with someone or a place, you forget that it can fuck up at any moment and you just have to live, love and enjoy as best you can, while you still have the opportunity to do so. And if there’s one thing that I’ve truly learned to embrace is that life is all about the moments and regardless if they come to a screeching halt, you still had them. Some live on through pictures and videos, while others will forever be imprinted in our hearts and minds.
Home is not at all what I once thought it was and now as my months here turn to weeks, I am having the hardest time thinking of any place other than London as just that.. my home.