I decided to become my own home

“If the corona-crisis is getting worse, will you go back home?” That is a question that Kathi, a German student in the Swedish city of Uppsala, got asked several times over the past few days. Quarantine deepens every single thought, so she started to ask herself: what is home for me?


My parents live in a small town in Germany and I left that place five years ago to move to Berlin. The city in which you can be everybody and nobody at the same time. After many long nights of dancing, I needed to move back to my little hometown. At this time the smell of the Berlin Subway was already as familiar to me as the smell of my bedsheets and I asked myself am I really going home now? Thinking about this I found a note in my Notebook from this time which says “if it can’t get any better, you should stop”.


Photo by Kathi Mengis


Still today I am not sure if this quote is entirely true because sometimes it’s worth investigating something in-depth instead of moving places all the time. I stayed and after some time I fell in love. Then this person became my home. We became a home. The situation that we have right now in Europe reminded me of a scene in the Oscar-winning movie Parasite that I watched in Uppsala about a week ago. In one scene the dad is telling his son that in his opinion the best plan is having no plan because who would have thought that they will end up on a floor in a sports hall because of floods.


Together with my friends I was planning to make people dance in Uppsala and now I am stuck in a house or in the forest during my last weeks of my exchange in Sweden, who would have thought that? Coming back to the question at the beginning, I was planning to build a home in Berlin with the person I loved. But this plan didn't work out either, life came in between, we weren’t able to share our lives and I needed to find myself in the mess we created.


Together with my friends I was planning to make people dance in Uppsala and now I am stuck in a house or in the forest during my last weeks of my exchange in Sweden, who would have thought that?

Being in an intense relationship for a long time, no matter if it is with a friend or a lover, it becomes hard to separate the person that you actually are from the person you became through this person. To create is to destroy. I decided to become my own home. That was the beginning of one hell of a trip. This world is a very wonderful and beautiful one and there are so many things to discover but the most important journey I think all of us will go through is the journey within ourselves. To find our truth, to find out who we are and what makes us happy. And in our culture, we are told that if we are beautiful, if we are skinny, if we are successful, famous, if we fit in, if everyone loves us, that we will be happy, but that’s not entirely true.


Whenever I felt scared or sad my brain tried to trick me. My mind was searching for an easy solution, for outside solutions that are thanks to all the advertising around us linked to consumption. If you buy this you will feel better, if you look like this you will feel better. Searching for answers in the outside but refusing to look inside. I was scared to feel my feelings and disconnected from myself. I started writing which forced me to look inside. I thought to be sensitive and to feel intensely is a weakness, but it is not the empath who is broken, it is society that has become dysfunctional.

I thought to be sensitive and to feel intensely is a weakness, but it is not the empath who is broken, it is society that has become dysfunctional.

The strong people are the ones who have the courage to be vulnerable, to be sensitive, to feel, to love. Being asked the question whether I want to go home during this Pandemic reminded me of my past, knowing that I will always have the strength to care for myself, that I am my home. But it also reminded me that it is really important to have people around you who have your best interests at heart, who care about you and support you and that in return, you can be a support for others.


As a result of this isolation, I find myself writing again, looking inside but also taking my time to reach out and connect with the people that I love. I guess this will be an interesting trip we are going through and this is only the beginning. And there will be long days filled with dances and wine at the end of it.


This story was shared by Kathi Mengis, who usually lives in Berlin but is currently studying Education and Scandinavian literature at Uppsala University, Sweden.

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