North America

Finding Home: Because It isn't a Place, It's a Feeling

When I was younger, I would not have dreamt that I would get to live in different continents. Life is an extraordinary adventure if you come to think of it. Did you ever imagine that you would live the life you are living right now? If it has come through for you, just as you conceived it to be, then you have clearly thought it through and life is falling in line with your vision of it. For some like me, it is about change.

When I moved from India to the Blighty, the transition was seamless. I experienced zilch homesickness. I bounce back quickly, you see, from most situations in life. I had left behind my job as a journalist and a hoard of friends who were my lifeline and there were moments of disquiet, for who does not have them.  Yet I was hopping with excitement because Adi and I had been married for all of six months and we were all agog to set up our brand new home together in a new country. It took no time to find our groove.

“Grooves … hide in the local shops and faces that become familiar,” says Lyz. I could not have put it better.

Thus it is that I find this tremendous ache whenever I think of our life in Northampton. The crux of it lies in the people who cropped up in our daily lives. Adi is missing his colleagues, especially his friend S, who remarked upon our change with his own typical brand of humour: “Here you are changing entire countries. I need time getting used to a new shampoo.” This is the same gentleman who had travelled incessantly from London to Brighton, to and fro, after a Friday Night in town.

My points of weakness revolve around the people of Northampton. The grocers I chatted with every day at the fresh market, the bespectacled old grocer who hawked his wares and boomed out, “Good to see you, my laydy,” if we had missed seeing each other for a prolonged period of time. Then there was the woman who dished out spicy noodles from her kiosk at the market square, the concierges who sat at the entrance to our apartment block, the girl who ran with the weights on her back in the park and never forgot to mouth a hello or beam as we passed each other, the man at the golf store who always raised a hand when I ran past him daily to the park.

It is a dull ache now. But it is there. With time, I know it shall fade but I do not want to forget these people who made my life in Northampton that much better with just a smile and a word.

It is with the move to New Jersey that I discover the deal with change. That it can club you with a baton. But there is the recognition too that it is simultaneously opening up the senses to new possibilities. New places. New people. New sensibilities. New home. It is after all a new continent as Osyth points out in all her wisdom.

While nursing a heavy heart, as I think continuously of Northampton and now making the leap to this new world (which I know is the beginning of big and beautiful), I have been blessed by your many kind words and gestures. In her perfect party girl series, where she is featuring bloggers, one at a time, the lovely Cheila put up a post with words that moved me, as did Angela with her quirky take on a ‘Have you met Ted?’ series (ref: How I met Your Mother), through which she introduces her readers to bloggers.

So you all who leave me such wonderful words to sit and guzzle in moments of weakness (and in which I find as much as comfort as I find in a bowl of Chinese noodles), You are an intrinsic part of this feeling called Home.

Below are photographs from an old-world town in New Jersey called Bayonne. We have found our little nook here this town of erstwhile Native Americans, peopled subsequently by masses of Irish workers. The latter erected a beautiful church, a 19th century affair, that rears its head impressively and makes you think of those glorious European churches that you have left behind. On weekends they have a string of stalls set up alongside the church and it is grandly referred to as the flea market. Old men walking their dogs, a few blocks away, ask with some fervour, “Is the flea market any good?” You smile and reply, “Why indeed it is.”

Bayonne is modest. It is so small a town that a handful of eateries can be found on one street. A few salons and a quaint gentlemen’s barber shops can be spotted in the quest for coffee. The last led us to Robert’s Cafe where the smell of coffee doused our senses with its richness. It happened to be a roastery, and yes, I thank thee o god of coffee for this wonderful little discovery. No Starbucks (or Starsucks as a friend calls it) here.

Last Saturday afternoon, we sat in between its faded walls of peach, watched a few old and young people trickle in, as we sipped on gourmet cups of coffee. Our reward for choosing Bayonne as home was this and a slice of apple crumble cheesecake with dollops of whipped cream on the side.

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Clouds billowing above the quiet township of Bayonne


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A Catholic church that was built to accommodate the Irish folk who needed their bit of haven after moving countries.
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The view of Bayonne and immediately beyond the skyline of New York (on the left) from our building.
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The rooftop where I foresee many afternoons and evenings of reading.
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The park in front of our building makes my feet itch to get going already
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It is the kind of park where you can spot a determined little girl chasing a squirrel…
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…and then waiting patiently, at the foot of the tree, for the squirrel to plop into her tiny hands. Great expectations.
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Meet Apple Crumble Cheesecake. And I hum alongside, ‘The Winner Takes it All…’ because it makes you feel like one, somehow.





  • lifeofangela

    Ah yay! I take it you and Adi have found a new home? 😀 You seemed to have picked the perfect spot. Bayonne looks lovely, as does that rooftop. You guys built a life and home in Northampton, it will definitely take time to adjust. I’m glad you found solace through this lovely blogosphere, and with us! Your eclectic mix of blogging buddies 😀 😀
    Also, I am a huge fan of both apple crumble and cheesecake, I have never seen them combined, and now i have to try track some down. Hopefully it exists somewhere down here 🙂

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      Yes we have Angela! After all the days of finding unsuitable ones and despairing, we went and found one. Bayonne is not too bad 🙂 This is the first time we found apple crumble and cheesecake combined too in one glorious chunk. You can imagine my delight. If it does not exist, you can always bake. A cheesecake is actually quite easy to get right 🙂 P.S.: You guys are my rock alright even though that might sound immensely cheesy.

      • iwannabealady

        I have no idea how I missed your last two posts. This is a lovely one. Bayonne looks like a quaint little place, and thankfully there’s a nice patch of greenery for you go feel connected to nature and the environment. You know that we’re going with you everywhere! You know what I’ve noticed? Any time I read your blog at night, the mention of food always arises and then I’m struck with a craving! I’m going to have to start reading before dinner 🙂

        I’m glad to hear you keeping a positive attitude. Change can be so hard when we’ve really made connections to people and places. After my divorce, I had to leave behind the beautiful home that I had painstakingly and lovingly created. All of my dreams of where I’d be sitting as an old lady had to go. It’s taken a while but I now have another home that I’m starting over in and I love it more than the last place. It’s more truly my own, you know? But at the time that I was losing the other life, I couldn’t visualize someplace that I’d love more. I still miss the high ceilings and French doors, but I’ve found other things to love that the old place didn’t have. I know you’re going though a struggle and no place will replace Northampton for you. I’m glad we can do something to make the transition easier.

        • Dippy-Dotty Girl

          Lyz, I am so sorry to hear about the painful time you must have gone through. I cannot begin to imagine. To lose your home too, which is always refuge for any soul, is the most troubling thing in life. But by now I have figured out that you are a brave woman with a great, sassy attitude about almost everything (definitely books, clothes, bikes, antiques, TVs…am I missing out anything?) in life. I am happy to hear that you have turned around your life and made your home that is just your own. I want to pass a tight hug here at this point before I go on further.

          Erm I shall try and schedule my posts pre-dinner. I had so much popcorn last night but I am craving it all over again. I just have to hang my head in shame.

          • iwannabealady

            Thank you for those lovely compliments. You’re very sweet. I am trying my best to make a life that I’m happy to live more each day.
            I’ll tell you about some other random things that I’m into when we met up finally! 🙂
            I ate almost an entire bag of popcorn between last night and tonight. And it’s been raining nonstop for 3 days so bike riding have been shortened and I’m feeling like a big time slob. Ughhhhhh

          • Dippy-Dotty Girl

            That sounds like me. Days of groaning about the rain, not getting to go out for my run. And then stuffing myself with popcorn. Keep the faith. I shall command the sun gods to show up tomorrow for thee. I cannot wait to hear about your random somethings soon 🙂 xx

  • AdashofJhaee

    I bet it’s hard leaving Northhampton, Congratulations Arundhati and Adi , you finally found a place ?. And it looks like a nice town ?

    And oh that apple crumble cheesecake looks delish ?

    Now time for home kitchen shopping ??

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      Thank you Janeth! It will never possibly leave us, Northampton that is. But here we go to set up a new home. A whole lot of anticipation in tow of setting it up which includes more of furniture shopping than kitchen 😉 Our entirely massive kit of kitchen items is reaching by ship soon and how my fingers are itching to receive them! xx

      • AdashofJhaee

        Im sure Northhampton will always stay in your heart ???

        Oh how exciting, furniture shopping ??
        Im sure you’re excited to do the decorating in your home?

        Thats nice you have your kitchen items ship, atleast you dont have to spend more on kitchen items. xx ?

        Have a goodnight ?

  • 3sistersabroad

    Ah yes I know those feelings of missing something that is so familiar. Remember when you first moved to Northampton?….and then you began to be a part of that neighborhood…You will soon be a part of this new home…..That apple crumble cheesecake looks devine. That park wow…is it right opposite your home? how lovely. That rooftop….I can see you sitting there taking everything in…..this will all be soon your familiar…..xxxx

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      You are so lovely to point out all of that with such patience. I do remember that feeling of strangeness that came over me the first time we stepped into Northampton, and you are right, this shall soon become a thing of the past. I will dig into a few more slices of that divine cheesecake to get me through and then go running in the park 😉 The park is right across the road from my new home! I am so chuffed. Thank you! x

  • Shweta Suresh

    Bayonne looks good. Congratulations on finding a place! That rooftop looks amazing and (the park too!) And you’re right – life is an extraordinary adventure. We can never even guess what might happen in the future… Because sometimes we find ourselves going down roads that we’d have never expected to experience. I love reading your posts because I feel as if I’ve visited all these amazing places. Apple crumble cheesecake has made me hungry. Now let me go find something to pacify my stomach! ?

  • The Shower of Blessings

    Hi Dippy, I haven’t seen you for a while. In fact it’s the problem of my site.

    I need to ask for a favor.

    If you have no trouble opening my site or you’re not following me, you can ignore this message.

    My old site is dead, the new link is

    You may have to click the new link and FOLLOW my new site again in order to see me show up in your Reader.

    Sorry for the trouble. Thank you, Miriam

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      Starbucks lovers would stone me. Am living dangerously here. Yeah I am looking forward to the rooftop, Tracey. Staring dreamily into the skyline and wondering about what next…

  • Roxy Starr

    I’m also moving from the UK to the States in a few months time – hopefully I’ll settle in as well as you seem to be! Bayonne looks absolutely lovely but anywhere is an adjustment. Great post as always xx

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      That is Big and Lovely news, Roxy! Is it work that brings you here? Are you excited about the move? I am sure if your heart is in it, you shall make it work. My heart was not you see, but still I know I shall be happy. Because it is a state of the mind and Bayonne shall do just fine 🙂 And thank you xx

      • Roxy Starr

        I’m moving with my family but yes, so excited! There will be things I miss of course, and my boyfriend will be remaining in England at least for the next year but as you say – state of the mind! ? xx

  • Sheree

    Northampton to New Jersey is a big jump but Bayonne looks delightful and you’ll soon settle down, make new friends and live life to the full there too.

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      Thank you, Sheree. It is a leap indeed, but as you point out, Bayonne shall be interesting to get to know. I am counting on finding familiar faces and smiles to make it home. This is life, isn’t it? Making s’mores out of marshmallows. I just need to keep the fire going.

  • Aditi J

    I am already warming up to the place from the pictures you have shared <3
    Good luck with settling in. I know the feeling first hand of almost calling that place your home and then having to leave those familiar faces wondering, where have you been. It was just smiles and greetings that were exchanged and still the yearning to have at-least said a final goodbye has come back to haunt me after reading your beautiful post.
    I have moved to 4 countries in 4 years and now finally settled in one for a long time, the thought alone doesn't let me feel at home and it's been two years!
    Looking forward to you sharing more stories from The States, now! 😀

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      That is beautifully put Aditi. And why you took the words away from my mouth here. “It was just smiles and greetings that were exchanged and still the yearning to have at-least said a final goodbye …” I too did not get to say goodbye. It does haunt me. How I wish I could teleport myself, see those lovely people one last time. Alas.

      Four countries in four years is mindboggling. You are a professional nomad then 🙂 I hope this place you are in right now is home for a long time to give you a semblance of permanence because at some point in life we all need it.

      Thank you for these kind words. I hope that Bayonne shall sneak its way into my heart and I shall one day hate to leave it x

  • Stewie Overseas

    Bayonne is pretty in the sun. I don’t think there is any way we could have imagined how our lives are what they are. I’ve thought about this before too. I feel very much at home in my little apartment now with my husband right now. But I know that someday we will have to leave, and that will be a sad day. To leave behind our neighbourhood, the streets we explored, our first home together.

  • Osyth

    ‘Home is IN you, or home is no-where at all’ … Herman Hesse said that in his wonderful extended essay titled ‘Wanderings’. This place that you have chosen has all the ingredients you need to settle well and the longing is subduing to an ache and the ache will nestle in your heart and be comfortable and part of who you are going forwards. And you have a whole new continent of baked delights to work your way through and no-one does baking like an American. Sorry France your patisserie is beautiful, sorry Britain your puds and cakes are a dream but the USA takes baking to a whole different level. As it does most things ? xx

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      I hope you have found a corner to hide in after declaring war on puds, cakes and patisserie. I am shaking with mirth but I shall certainly make sure I get to try these ‘awesome’ stuff soon. If that cheesecake was anything to go by, I can write paeans soon. So well put about the ache nestling into the heart. It is an inevitable bit of living. And Herr Hesse did get it in one line then. I shall look up his works (I had come across him in the Northampton library and somehow picked up some other classic instead) xx

      • Osyth

        Haha …. don’t tell the Patissiere down the street from me and certainly don’t tell my mother!! Hesse is well worth checking out … Steppenwolf and Siddartha, of course but I would honestly recommend Wandering as a starting point particularly given your ‘settling in’ status xx

        • Dippy-Dotty Girl

          I had forgotten that I had read Steppenwolf. It was dark and disquieting. I do not know how I finished reading it. An example of my scattiness right there that I forgot about it altogether. Siddartha, and Wanderings more importantly, shall be looked up to go with the mood of Now. I shall certainly not want the local patisserie to stop handing over those gorgeous baguettes to you 😉 As for mothers, I do not mess with them. You are safe 😀 xx

  • oldhouseintheshires

    Bayonne looks perfect! How did you find it? Is that rooftop yours -its glorious!? I could definitely spend a while up there in summer. The place looks quite pretty too…I love the wooden houses and the park looks…well English! Green with tall trees. You really can’t beat a slice of American pie and that slice looks lovely and homemade. Enjoy your new home my lovely. It may take a while but you are right when you say that home is a feeling. Xxx

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      Yay thanks for saying that, Sophie. I can get used to Bayonne and we are in an apartment building so that rooftop would be ours too! 🙂 The park is so English. You are right about that. It thrilled me to bits. Reminded me of my favourite park in Northampton which was much bigger but well I will take this one quite happily. The cafe shall just make the journey easier 🙂 xx

  • Dina

    Lovely photography as always, Dippy! And gosh, how yummy that cheesecrumble looks!!
    I’m glad to see that you are settling in so well after a short time. I live in my third country, England, now after Norway and Germany and I know why you miss Northampton. All the best to you and Adi! x

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      Thank you! Oh the cheesecake was something 🙂 I am trying my best, Dina. It helps to know that you empathise. But it is getting better. We just keeping going through photographs to help us through this period of transition x

  • AmoyLily

    I like your post. What a beautiful town! The blue sky, white clouds, green trees and colorful buildings. Beautiful! Like a paradise!

  • TheresaBarker

    What a gift you have for seeing things so clearly, Dippy-Dotty Girl! Both in photos and in your observations of life. This was such a lovely post – I could easily imagine your live in Northhampton (though I haven’t been there) and also in NJ. Thank you!

  • byIndiaBlue

    And for a moment, I am there. Another new place I’ve not heard of but your writing creating snapshots along with your pictures. Thank you for sharing, I firmly believe that Home is where the heart is…. I wish you happiness there.

  • Cheila

    So beautifully written, as always. I understand what it’s like to leave some part of you behind, though on a much smaller scale. The feeling of missing it keeps bugging you and you can’t help but feeling a little sad, each time it comes to mind. However, your home is Adi, your lovely husband. Wherever he is, it’ll always be home for you. I would move anywhere for Rui, because I belong wherever he is. Sure, this is real life with real change, which can be quite hard. I do hope you can feel home soon. <3

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      Thank you Cheila. These words of encouragement do help. There are times when I feel like a ball of mush. This is one of those moments. Love is such a powerful emotion. You are right. Adi is home. That is the emotion that is carrying me through. I am feeling a bit better already though it comes and goes in waves 🙂 xx

  • travelnerdplans

    Well first, the bright sides, my friend: 1. Bayonne looks beautiful. 2. That park is indeed inviting. All you have to do is lace up the running shoes and be off. 3. If you ever hear the sirens’ song beckoning you to a vacation at sea, you are just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Cape Liberty port. 🙂 But I can relate to the waves of heavy-heartedness. I am not much of a mover or changer, but the times I have left a home, I felt like I left a bit of myself as well. But hey, it’s nothing the Oculus Dino-Transformer can’t fix 😉 And now I’ll finish up by returning to my first thought–talking in circles, just like I swim, hehe–Bayonne looks like a wonderful place to make a home. And how can you beat the rooftop views of the city? sigh…

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      Thanks Kristyn 🙂 Life is a circle of deeds, your swimming is a circle of one-legged stroke goodness and your comment is about coming full circle too. Circles within circles here. I shall remember the port tip and if we did not have a heavy heart how would we know the value of what we left behind or what we have ahead to start loving, right? I appreciate your lovely words always xx

  • Kim Richardson

    What a fantastic piece! I totally agree that home is a feeling. I guess, in a way then, you carry home within you always … ready to unpack when you find a place that sings to you.

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      I did too but the prices were giving us a heartache 😉 But really looking forward to stepping into our apartment this weekend and going about the process of decorating it. What fun! 🙂 xx

      • rhythminlife

        The beauty of being a grown up ?. The price difference between there and Texas is way up there. For your apartment, one would have some acreage here??. Enjoy your new place my dear ?

  • T. R. Noble

    Enjoyed this post, and happy for you. My husband and I are preparing our second move in less than a year, and I’m not fond of change. I related a lot to what you said however. 🙂

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      Thank you Miss Noble for dropping by. I like the sound of that. Miss Noble 🙂 I appreciate your comment. Second move. That does imply a lot of memories carrying over from your first and then this second one. I hope both of you adapt well soon to your new place. We are such creatures of habit that we tend to become used to new environment given some time. You shall do fine. Let food and people carry you through xx

      • T. R. Noble

        This place I didn’t get attached to at all really. Moves in general stress me out. We moved last September here, are moving again in less than 10 months. In 2013, I moved to Little Rock with my husband, and I made memories there which I am thankful for. But last year when we moved from Little Rock to here, I didn’t make any friends, wasn’t able to find a church, so I don’t have anything to really leave behind. Which, I am content with I am pleased to say. When my husband and I find a new home, that will be our third home together within a span of four years. But it looks like we will be there for a couple of years before the next move. Miss Noble does have a nice ring to it. : ) thank you.

        • Dippy-Dotty Girl

          Hmm then let’s see the silver lining to this move. Maybe it will bring you friends and a church to find solace in. It is important to find your focal points when you move to a new place. Home is pretty much the sum of all those things put together. I had to google Little Rock. It is a pretty place. Must have been difficult to make a change then. But you have done it girl, twice now, and now you just have to focus on the two of you. Let’s raise our glasses to the fact that you will have roots for two years at the least 🙂 Small steps xx

          • T. R. Noble

            Oh, there’s definitely positives with this move. : ) I’m just very slow to change, and an introvert. So new things do not come that easy to me. But there are a lot of opportunities and blessings. We will be in our home state. We will be staying with family till we find a new place, and my husband got accepted to the university I graduated from. So I’ll be in my first and second hometowns so to speak. 🙂 thanks for your encouragement. Small steps indeed, it’s the bridges that take time. But that’s okay. I’ll definitely have a story to tell. : )

          • Dippy-Dotty Girl

            Attagirl! I am an extrovert but have become a recluse. I am content to live a quiet life. And here I am in the middle of a new city trying to find my groove. Just like I shall find mine, you are on the way to yours. Congratulations on the husband enrolling into university. You both must be thrilled and then there is family to fall back on. That does ease up this transition. Shall wait to read your story xx

          • T. R. Noble

            Yeah, ever since 2013 when we moved to Little Rock, I’ve been living in the city/busy life. And it’s just not me. Where we are moving back to, it will be much more quieter, and I’m looking forward to it 🙂

  • carolinehelbig

    I am a bit envious of your move(s). While I’ve moved within Canada several times I’ve not had the experience of moving to a different country (still on the list of things to do). I remember that it took me quite a bit of time to adjust, even with our relatively “easy” moves. You will always have great memories of your time/people in Northhampton, and now you have this extraordinaire new place to discover. Bayonne looks like a very pretty place, and such a wonderful location.
    I have been hiking and away from technology for ten days so just starting to “dig out” and catch up. All the best to you and Adi.

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      Hiking sounds like our idea of bliss too, Caroline 🙂 I bet you have come back with stories to tell. Cannot wait to read them. Thank you for the lovely wishes from both us.

      Moving countries is unsettling especially since there are new ways that we are getting used to here. And that is just fine. It is opening up our minds further and introducing us to new ways and words. Isn’t that the deal about travelling anyway? We are trying to see the bigger picture here 🙂 Canada is so beautiful. I can see why you would be loath to leave it behind for anywhere else xx

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