The Stories Of Eight Women Adapting To Their New Places

Xenia
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Photographer Xenia Fedorova is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography.  From the project ‘ Home Sweet Home’To see Xenia’s body of work, click on any image.

 

Home is where peace is. Even when something incredible, dangerous, and surreal is happening behind the walls.

Now the whole world is sitting at home, hoping to ride out the storm, protect relatives and make the work of doctors a little easier.

When my project started, no one could have imagined what we would face in 2020. Then my thoughts were busy with the upcoming move from London to Montreal and I tried to cope with it. I was scared to change everything again.

I talked with people who often moved, I was interested in the transformation of their “feeling of home”. It was curious to know if they had found their home or were still searching.

The project presents photographs of women who went abroad after their husbands. They changed countries more than once and even learned to re-create the “feeling of home” regardless of where they lived. We talked to them about the feeling of psychological homelessness and identity change.

When we move, we recreate our home as if from pieces of a puzzle in a new reality. When this mosaic is successful, we feel harmonious and whole. The new becomes familiar, meaningful connections appear, and the language barrier disappears and the place becomes a real home. If this does not happen, the house moves into the past, to the place where relatives and fond memories already live.

Now we are all trapped in our own or someone else’s homes, and you can forget about global movements for a long time. The house becomes not just some kind of inner feeling, but literally a refuge, a fortress. We are all in self-isolation. And we need to do something and not get discouraged.

I asked my heroines to draw their associations with their home in their own portraits. And she drew her own.

And we have some great anti-stress coloring books.

 

Kate, 27 years old

Geography of movements

Russia – France – Great Britain

Both times they moved because of the husband’s work. It is difficult to understand everything from scratch when you don’t know the language at all. The French are not eager to meet halfway and speak another language. Even going to the bakery was a problem at first.

For me, one of the most important parts of finding a new home is self-realization. I want to find a place where I can apply my experience, develop, and be useful.

You may not always guess that someone just needs a cup of tea with lemon right now. Sadness covers suddenly and well if at this moment there is someone who can distract from dark thoughts.

Home is the place where my family and cats live, where we all do our usual things and feel good. Even temporary places can become a real home.

We moved a lot and changed eight apartments. They were completely different, but it always helped me put the memorabilia in a prominent place. For example, if my wedding bouquet has found its place in the house, then that’s it, the transformation is over.

Now I like the new apartment in north London. We have a terrace, and in the summer I even grew cucumbers with pimples here! If the house inspires you to new achievements, then you are definitely in your place.

During the quarantine, nothing really changed – I feel good here. I can play football, and grow flowers, spread out a blanket and drink coffee. We walk on the terrace. It’s a shame I can’t invite my friends yet.

 

Julia , 39 years old

Geography of movements

Russia – Israel – Great Britain

“I didn’t strive for any of my moves: I followed people. But I never regretted it and quickly fit into the plot. The feeling of freedom that I felt in Israel was amazing. Freedom as self-expression. I feel the same in London. …

I grew up on Yufimtseva Street in Rostov-on-Don. Therefore, the place where I feel good, I call “Yufimtsevo”. It can be in Rostov, London or Kfar Saba. On New Year’s Eve Yufimtsevo moved to Israel, where my sisters and aunts live; with Mom arriving – shows up in my British apartment. There is also Zhuravlev street, where dad grew up. Now she is in Germany with him and his family.

Home for me is people. Home can be the apartment of your best friend from childhood and school. The main thing is to be among loved ones and loved ones.

I’m not looking for my home. I just feel good where my family members are scattered around the world. ”

Julia begins to immerse herself in a new environment by studying laws because she is a lawyer by profession. After reading a lot of books on law, she can say that now she understands this country.

A year ago, she almost completely lost her hearing and went through a difficult time. Always a very sociable, cheerful girl, a talented storyteller, she found herself “in silence”. Close people from different cities responded and surrounded with support and care. This gives Yulia the feeling of her home, wherever he is. Now Julia draws and writes humorous stories and even thinks about stand-up.

“In the new era of coronavirus, my world has shrunk to the size of my apartment. It has become for me the most secure place on earth.”

 

Anna, 35 years old

Geography of movements

Saint-Petersburg – Сzech Republic – Greta Britain

Anna now feels “homeless”. “I am a homeless person because I do not have the full feeling of being at home anywhere. I was taken away from Russia as a child, there remained my bright memories from childhood. She met her future husband there and moved with him to London, where he was offered a good job as a chef.

The hardest thing for me was to settle down in England, I was already quite an adult. The older you move, the harder it is.

I find the most difficult difference in mentality and outlook on life. Different systems of teaching, medicine. Communication always helps to adapt.

Home is where you feel comfortable. These are my parents and family. This is the place where you are understood and loved just like that. You can come there at any time and the doors will be open for you.

I do not consider any of the countries as my real home. And it is very sad when there is no such integral feeling, there is no “home”.

After the quarantine, nothing has changed for me. I also spend all my time with my child. Our dad works in a restaurant, makes food delivery. And the NHS system has always upset me. Here they did not surprise me.

 

Jane 34 years old

Geography of movements

Russia – Great Britain

I have been living in England since 2009. Moved when she married an Englishman.

At first, I was very lonely here, it was not clear how to do things that were familiar to me. Everything changed when I went to University and found a job. I got used to the new rules of the game but did not accept them. I love Moscow for its space, it is sorely lacking in London.

Home for me is memories of childhood, warm and very homey, this is the smell of my father’s coffee in the morning and my mother’s pancakes for breakfast. This is a viewing of old Soviet films and “Olivier” salad for the New Year. This is my mother’s borscht and pies. This is an opportunity to speak Russian. These are traditions and holidays, which are celebrated as they are accustomed to from childhood.

Sometimes I feel ‘homeless’ when the new rules are choking on all sides and you think to spit on everything and return to Russia, but now what am I going to do there?

After the lockdown, my home became my fortress. We repaired the nursery, settled in, and decorated. There are many things to do here, we are not bored. Saves our kindergarten. I am glad that there is no more this school race – I became calmer and more balanced. I still not really like it in England. I really want to see my parents, more than ever.

 

Maria, 29 years old

Geography of movements

Russia – France – Great Britain

We have traveled a lot before, we were curious to live in another country.

The decision to move with a baby to France was made under the motto “Stupidity and Courage”. Probably, this time was the most difficult emotionally.

We did not get along with Paris, despite the fact that I completed the program to the maximum: I had a small child, a full-fledged study, and even internships began.

I felt like a stranger, which is partly why we left. I really like England so far. There is a mix of all cultures, it is psychologically easier.

The feeling of home appears when I can draw a map in my head and walk from point A to point B. Then the faceless streets and houses take on their unique face. I know that friends or acquaintances live here and this makes the city dear.

Any place can be home, as long as my family and I are there.

I really like to receive guests, then the place is filled with energy more. This is a great excuse to discover new places together and throw anchors as a keepsake. You immediately feel that in spite of the distance, everyone is close by.

It’s hard to say if we found our home, but now I enjoy England. We live in a very family suburb, I can drink coffee in my garden in sunny weather, isn’t it a dream? There are many plans, but now I do not want to rush at all, but enjoy the moment.

After the lockdown, I felt even calmer, there is no need to rush anywhere, you live at your own pace. When everyone is sitting at home, it’s not a shame that you cannot go anywhere.

 

Kate 35 years old

Geography of movements

Russia – Netherlands – Great Britain

The first time my family moved from Moscow to Amsterdam because of my husband’s new job prospects.

Over time, it became clear that there are not so many bonuses and the Dutch language is not the most promising for children. This influenced the decision to move to England for the second time.

“Home for me is a space in which I feel comfortable. Where I understand and understand me 100%. Where there is much less unknown than familiar from childhood and well-studied. Home is the people around: family, friends. Home – This is a warm and soft pastry that smells of butter, kindness and care. Home is the smell of my grandmother and my native dacha, where “there is every spikelet in the field.”

It turned out to be very important for me to freely talk with people with whom I grew up “on the same cartoons.”

If there is no feeling that this is your place, then you have to go further and look for something that you love. Now I know where my home is. He has been waiting for me all these years of travel on Nizhegorodskaya Street in Moscow. And I will definitely return there. I hope that my children will be able to get used to Russia again. We are studying the program of the Russian school remotely to help them in this process.

After quarantine, rethinking has not yet happened, the main thing is I managed to buy eggs for my cakes. Quarantine is the time not to run anywhere, headlong. Enjoy, as they say. Now, in the conditions of the termination of all communication with the INO-environment, my house has become even warmer and more comfortable. Less often you leave it, less often you remember that outside the window is a foreign land.

 

Anastasia, 34 years old

Geography of movements

Ukraine – France – Great Britain

After the 2014 war, when the threat to our loved ones passed, we began to think about living somewhere else. Then an offer came up from Paris. We are adventurers in general and decided that Paris sounds cool. At first everything was alien, incomprehensible, and stressful. Ignorance of culture, laws and habits makes you completely alien, torn from life.

The first step of “rapprochement”, which gave confidence, was the French language. Our social circle expanded, the first “connections” with the city began to appear.

French culture is to our liking and taste. And for me it tastes like a holiday and red wine!

We have become stronger and are now able to overcome all difficulties, as happens when there is understanding and support from loved ones. We have been living in London for a year and a half. Moved here is also not planned, following career ambitions. And now you need to rebuild your house, brick by brick. Here, again, family, support and faith in each other help. I don’t feel cut off from my roots, no. I always know and remember where my roots are. We regularly fly to Ukraine, visit our native places. But my house is definitely not there.

I cannot say that I was looking for my home on purpose or had to leave it. But only recently has there been a “feeling of home”. We didn’t find the house, we created it ourselves. I think that he is somewhere inside me, and when I move to a new country, I bring him with me. It just takes time to build strong walls around it.

Quarantine forces people to stay at home in isolation from the outside world. I feel very comfortable spending time with my family. There was a clear sense of security and calm, despite the situation around. Our home is a small world where only we rule. It is warm and good in it. It seems that only now I have completely relaxed. I feel how I am filled, saturated with energy, gaining new strength.

 

Xenia, 36 years old

(Featured Image)

Geography of movements

Russia – Great Britain- Russia

For a long time, I didn’t hesitate when 5 years ago I had to go with my family to England. It was an interesting and challenging adventure. When the question of moving to Canada came up again a year ago, I wondered – can I handle it now? Now there was a pandemic and quarantine – we decided to return to St. Petersburg altogether so as not to be locked up in different countries.

When I drew my house on a photograph, I did not know yet that we would settle in an apartment on the top floor and there would be an exit to the roof. This roof became our only opportunity to walk and breathe fresh air during self-isolation. Therefore, the drawing turned out to be a little symbolic.

Home for me is my boys. I’m like a princess surrounded by three knights. With them, even to the ends of the Earth, even to quarantine, is not scary.

Home for me is where my family and friends are. I feel comfortable and my soul sings when I find like-minded people and start coming up with creative projects. My childhood and memories of the Academic dachas always live in my house, where we swam with my parents in a boat and collected water lilies.

After the quarantine, I understand that my home is where it is calm, even when something incredible, dangerous, and surreal is happening behind the walls. This is the Petersburg wind, this is the language in which you think and breathe, this is the fantastic taste of custard buns. This is my city. Wherever we find ourselves later, its shiny and red roofs will definitely be with me. The main thing is that the roof does not suddenly decide to leave me somewhere.

 

All images and text © Xenia Fedorova

 

 

See also:

THE BOY IN THE BOX

By Xenia Fedorova

 

 

 

 

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