Column: I’m 22 years old and I moved 25 times

There are a lot of reasons why someone would move: to be closer to your work because your family is growing, a housing reason, a new adventure or because you don’t feel at home in your own house. That last one is why my mom moves a lot, so I have to move too. According to Federal Public Service Interior, a little over 306.000 Belgian people moved inside the Flemish part of the country in September 2019.

‘Aram, I want to move.’ Something I’ve heard more than I would like. I’m 22 years old and I moved 25 times. Yes, more than once a year. When you say you are homesick, people often think you moved abroad. But in my case, I feel homesick in my own country. I don’t miss my family, because I see them every week, but what I do miss is stability.

‘The biggest struggle for me was making friends.’

No place to call home
Moving is not practical, you have to arrange all the documents and contracts, you have to pack everything, unpack it again. That’s one of the reasons I don’t like to move, but also request relocation of the water firm, electricity and most importantly, the internet. I have to do all the paperwork and it’s so stressful to arrange everything on time. Especially when everything happens last minute.

Because we moved so much, it never felt like home to me. The longest time my mom and I stayed in one place was almost two years. And the biggest struggle for me was making friends. When you move so much, you either don’t have time to make friends or when you finally do, you have to move again. And long-distance friendships often don’t last very long.

What is relaxing?
Another thing that’s hard to maintain when moving is your hobby. When you relocate so often, you won’t get to have any outside hobbies. Even though hobbies are a great place to make new friends, the biggest struggle was to maintain that hobby. It often took longer to get there than to actually practice my sport. In combination with my studies, this just was too time-consuming.

‘I’d rather spend my entire day at school.’

Making your house a home is always proven difficult. How do I put the furniture? How do I arrange my bedroom? Where do I put all my kitchenware? It takes a long time before you’re completely happy with how everything is organized. So whenever we were settled, it was time to pack our bags and move again.

That’s exactly why I don’t unpack everything. I only take the things I need and the rest of my stuff is stored in boxes in the garage. This makes me even feel less at home because I can’t grab a book whenever I want or enjoy my collections. That’s why, at this moment, I’d rather spend my entire day at school. A place I’ve been in for three years.

What’s the future?
Unfortunately, we will be moving again next year, but I still hope this will be the last time before I buy my own home. l already made a sketch of my dream house, a place I’d never leave.

Are you planning on moving abroad? Or just curious about different cultures? Our team from Being Away From Home will tackle some interesting articles for international students. Check our previous article: Making Manchester: stories about migrants and their children.

Text and photo: © Aram Van den Eynde