What I Hated the Least Today 174/365: Home(land)

Familiar homescape
Familiar homescape

I’m extremely unpatriotic. The arbitrary circumstance of me being born and living in one country rather than another isn’t enough to inspire any attachment to my homeland. I have my sentimental moments though. For instance, when the national sports team wins a world championship, I may experience a vague sense of pride—being proud of nothing related to me really, especially since I don’t follow any sports.

The older, I mean the wiser, I get, the more I consider it fortunate to find myself in the second world. I believe it balances the extremes of the first world and the third world rather nicely. I don’t do anything coming close to a collective national pride, but I enjoy the comfort of familiarity. It’s the familiar, not the alien, that makes one feel at ease and, by extension, at home.

What works for me as a marker of home is the characteristic Eastern European socialist architecture. It’s a soothing sight, and whenever I see, say, a fellow blogger posting pictures of tall concrete tenements, it triggers an immediate sense of shared heritage in my mind. When I went out on the terrace tonight and saw the sun setting behind the blocks of flats—as captured in this post’s featured image—I had a weak moment when I was almost defiantly proud of my background.

I still deny any accusations of patriotism though and if you ask me, I will also deny having authored this sentimental post. It was the cat who hijacked my laptop and tried to embarrass me by blogging about feelings. I don’t do feelings, of course—unless related to the cat, who is currently sitting on the window, staring at the darkened tenements across the street and plotting how to taunt me next.

29 thoughts on “What I Hated the Least Today 174/365: Home(land)

  1. I like my country, I don’t love it. I guess because some say I am not patriotic enough because of my political leanings. Sometimes we confuse patriotism with nationalism…two things that are very different from each other.

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    1. You have a point, patriotism and nationalism are very different, even though they come together. I think your attitude is a well-balanced one. And I don’t think being a patriot has much to do with politics. It doesn’t need to be any public, political link that connects you to your homeland, it can be just a personal, intimate connection.

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  2. There was at one time a blogger using similar photos as a writing prompt. Apparently she came across photos of places that have been abandoned in Eastern Europe. All very sad I thought huge buildings with no one in them, left to rot. No feelings? Really? I bet you have some hidden away inside…chocolate, alcohol, good food…..

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    1. That sounds like something I would like! I’m particularly fascinated with the Chernobyl area, which is the ultimate abandoned space in this part of the world.

      I may or may not have hidden feelings, but they don’t count because they’re hidden 😉

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  3. I love Scotland and am very fond of much of its history, culture, landscapes and people. I tell people all the time that they should visit. But I’m a realist with pessimistic tendencies so I know my country has flaws and fault lines. And I don’t give a fig for sport. And I dislike whisky except when cooking with it. And I’m not one of those who thinks my country is superior to others. So I’m not a patriot by any stretch but it’s ok to not be a rabid patriot and still think your country is a pretty great place to hail from.

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    1. You said it very well. Incidentally, I know more about Scotland and like (perhaps even “love”?) it more than my own country, I’m not sure how it happened. I appreciate even its flaws, that makes it interesting for me.

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      1. My husband is the same. He is half-English and half-American and was raised in both those countries but he feels a strong affinity and attachment to Scotland and almost no bond to England.

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        1. That is curious to hear! I understand Scotland and England as two entirely different worlds, and for me it’s also Scotland, not England, but in my case it’s a question of choice, since I have no physical links with either. Well, besides me having visited London once and Edinburgh a few times. London I found very disappointing, Edinburgh I loved instantly. I hope I’ll be able to visit also Glasgow, if no other city.

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  4. Interesting, and a beautiful photo. Had I read and commented on this post twelve years earlier I would have agreed with you on all points. I still do, in many ways … where we were born is so coincidental. It seems, though, the longer I’m away from my country, the happier I feel that I was born and lived the first fifty years of my life there. And when I see photos from there I admit I get those certain tugs at my heartstrings. Is that patriotism?! I don’t know … I think it’s nostalgia.

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    1. I think you nailed it, nostalgia is a huge part of patriotic feelings. I’m certain I would miss my country if I were to live elsewhere. I don’t particularly enjoy living here, but it’s the devil you know, and I like to move in familiar environments. So, I guess, any attachment to my country that I have is based on the fact of shared history. No flag waving for me, it’s just a personal sentiment.

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      1. It gets worse the longer you’re away. When I hear our national anthem nowadays, I can almost get a little misty-eyed, and that would never have occurred before 🙂

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        1. Awe… My national anthem does nothing for me and as I like to point out, it’s so dumb that when Czechoslovakia split, the Slovaks took their half of the anthem with them. What remained feels incomplete and I’m always surprised when the anthem ends so abruptly when it should have continued with the Slovak part.

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          1. That must feel so weird! Canada changed theirs back in the 60s some time. The French felt offended by the lyrics of “Maple Leaf Forever”. Now it’s “O Canada”.

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          2. I know “O Canada” and I actually like it very much. Though of course it doesn’t carry the same significance for me as it does to a Canadian. Also, I think it somewhat ridiculous that anyone would be offended by a maple leaf.

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          3. It’s about history — the battle of Plains of Abraham, which the French lost. They would be reminded of that all the time in the lyrics LOL

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    1. Perversely, I’m suspicious of the beautiful and prefer the ugly, so I’d say, the other way round, that the down-to-earth architecture is the only thing that makes the too cute sunset digestible for me 😉

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    1. Isn’t it funny how we connect to the ugly rather than the lovely in our surroundings? We do have some beautiful historical architecture here, but it somehow doesn’t work for me. As if it could be located anywhere. I guess ugly things deserve some love too, and not just the touristy sights.

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