Since 2008, I’ve been writing a version of Coucou Home, exploring on my website what it means to make home in the world through stories, interviews, and photographs. It wasn’t in vain. From the time I left home at 18, I’ve made no less than 19 moves around the world and I knew there were other people who shared my experience.
I’ve spent the good part of the last decade obsessively examining the concept of home — even going through the motions of buying and selling a home — still unable to articulate it. No matter where I lived, I felt adrift and homeless. I reasoned that if I could define “home”, then maybe one day I could find it, too.
In 2017, I made my 19th move, this time to Hanoi to live with my husband. The adage “Home is where the heart is” has never rung true to me, so despite making home with one of best friend’s, restlessness ensued. To cope with the transition, I started drawing the local flora, a practice I picked up the summer before whilst on a creativity retreat.
Then, one gloomy day after a series of monotonously gray weeks, Contessa appeared on my page. She was a petite, faceless child with a bob and a headband, donning knee-high socks and Mary Janes.
In life, Guides come to us when we least expect it, and Contessa was no different. In a matter of months, I’d nearly filled a sketch book with her adventures and perspective of the world. More than something I could share with other people, she offered me a new way to engage life, to feel, at last, at home in it.
So it seems only fitting to merge her world with mine. In the coming months, I’ll be making Contessa’s home here, alongside my writing, and other art. It seems silly — this being the 4th or 5th iteration of this website — but it’s a story that continues to unfold in myriad ways and something I wish to continue to share.
I hope for Coucou Home to always to be a place that inspires, and most of all, helps expand what home means to you.
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