Wahlheimat: adopted home

I’m still a little melancholic after Christmas and I miss home, so why not stay in the melancholy mood 🙂 I promise I’ll write something funny next time.

Several weeks ago in a gift shop here in Hamburg, I saw an amazing key ring (and of course, bought it immediately). What is so special about it? At first sight, nothing. It’s a normal thin metal ring with a plastic tag. I fell in love with the writing on it. One simple, yet beautiful word: wahlheimat. I couldn’t think of any other ring I would rather have on my keys to my new Hamburg home.

Still wondering what a “Wahlheimat” is? Let’s take a closer look at this word then. It’s a German word and a mix of two words, “Wahl” and “Heimat“. “Wahl” is an easy word meaning choice or selection. But “Heimat”? Wikipedia says it’s a difficult word to explain in English. The closest words are “home” and anything that starts with “home” (“homeland”, “hometown”, “home country”). I can’t think of any better words that would characterize it. Just any place where you feel welcomed and at peace 🙂

You’re probably supposed to be bound to your “Heimat” by your birth, childhood memories, friends, experience…but is it really necessary? Is it possible to have more than one home? Well, so far I have four and I have grown up in one only. Not too bad since I’m planning to have at least four or five more by the time I’m thirty. Looks like I’ll probably have to buy more key chains 🙂

And how many homes do you have? And what place (really, any place, you’re free to choose) would you choose to be your “Wahlheimat”? Let us know in your comments!


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