Home & Away: Placelessness and Home

Meet my friend Charline. We met when I moved into a shared house in London in 2013. She had been living there for a few months before I moved in and already had well established friendships with the other housemates. I think our friendship really began when I would go and sit on the end of her bed in the morning whilst eating my breakfast and making her some tea. Charline is a pretty incredible person. Originally from Brazil, Charline has spent years between Australia, London and her home city Porto Alegre learning English and working in hospitality. She is now living in Brisbane with her boyfriend and their family while she waits for a partnership visa.

Charline and I on our adventures in Rome.
Charline and I on our adventures in Rome.

It’s nearly been two years since Charline has been back to Brazil, and with her family being such an important part of her life, she engages in some interesteing home balancing acts. She juggles Facebook, Whatsapp, Skype and Facetime, to keep in touch with her family despite there being a 13hour time difference. She’ll often find herself chatting to them very early in the morning (6am) in Australia or late at night (when it’s morning in Brazil). Unlike me, she’s unable to call her parents at 5pm when she finishes work, because they’ll be sound asleep. And then, she needs to combat poor internet connection, which lets face it, is everyone’s nightmare. Whether she’s skyping her brother in Dublin, Facebooking her father in Brazil or calling me in Wollongong, it’s evident that Charline is able to occupy several continents at the same time.

Charline managing her homes around the world.
Charline managing her spaces and relationships around the world.

So, as Charline balances her home life in Brazil, whilst living in a new home in Brisbane, the relationship between communication and home begin to evolve. I often come across the saying ‘home is not a place, it’s a feeling.’ This coincides with Meyroitz’s theory of placelessness where ‘people aren’t defined by physical boundaries, but rather networks of information and knowledge faciliated by new media technologies’ (Laughey, pp. 85, 2007). Whilst it’s easy to see how Charline is not restricted by physical boundaries anymore, she does continue to create a new sense of place. It is apparent that in today’s society, modern technology actually allows us to occupy multiple places at the same time and create new senses of place (Moores, 2012), however we cannot undermine the significance of a physical place to people, especially home.

Despite the forces of globalization and the break down of physical barriers through media technologies like skype, one cannot be placeless, because place plays an integral role in communication.  Internet access, time differences and language all influence the way in which we communicate, especially the way in which Charline keeps in touch with her family.

The term placelessness, implies ‘without a place,’ where in fact Charline has created many places and ways of life around the world. To Charline, home is a place, Brazil. Her family, culture and language all contribute to her sense of home being in Brazil. Whilst she is still able to create a sense of place, it will never replace home. Charline continues to ‘create a sense of place despite the disruptive and chaotic experience of mobility’ (Dassopoulos, 2013) and the challenge will lie in balancing multiple places, however no sense of place will replace a sense of home. And to Charline, home will always be Brazil.

There's no place like home
There’s no place like home

*Thankyou to Charline for chatting to me about your travels, your frustrations at wifi and reception signals and your beautiful home, Brazil. 

*

References

Laughey, D 2007, Key Themes In Media Theory, Maidenhead, Open University Press, pp. 85, viewed 26 October 2015

Dassopolous, A 2013, ‘Book Review of Media, Place and Mobility by Shaun Moores’, International Journal of Communication, Universtiy of Nevada, Vol. 7, viewed 26 October 2015, http://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/viewFile/2365/952

Moores, S 2012, Media, Place And Mobility, Basingstoke, Hampshire, Palgrave Macmillan,  viewed 26 October 2015, https://books.google.com.au/books?id=W7QcBQAAQBAJ&lpg=PR4&ots=g0SRb6nCRc&dq=Shaun%20Moores%2C%20Media%2C%20Place%20%26%20Mobility%2C%20New%20York%2C%20NY%3A%20Palgrave%20Macmillan%2C%202012%2C&pg=PA9#v=onepage&q=placeness%20&f=false

Home & Away: Walking Home With My Parents

Where am I? Physically, I’m sitting at the library at the University of Wollongong, typing away at my blog. My mind is daydreaming about the end of session spent at the beach. I’m texting my friend in Sydney, reminiscing about our weekend. And I’ve just Facebook messaged a friend in Mexico to see if he’s OK in Hurricaine Patricia. The question stands that if I am physically in one place, however engaging in another through the media… where am I and how is this managed?

I’ll be speaking to 4 different university students about how they manage their home and their new life out of home. The relationship between media, audience and place is complex, especially when it comes to making your parents happy that you keep in touch, mainaining old friendships and making the most of your time whilst living out of home. So, I thought I would begin with myself, and explore the ways in which I manage my home-new home relationship.

IMG_4743
It’s nice to know you’re not walking alone.

I grew up and attended high school in Port Stephens near Newcastle where I still have a large friend and family network. After graduating high school and spending my GAP year abroad. Then in 2014 I moved down to Wollongong to study. I am now living at my second university residence and after three years of living out of home and balancing my home – new home life, I’ve come up with some strategic and productive ways to do so.

I’ve previously discussed wasted time, and I seem to accumulate quite a lot of this. To make the most of this ‘wasted time,’ I will call my parents when I am walking home from work, the gym or the train station. My Dad is always on his mobile, and he will ‘walk me home.’ Even if the walk is just a few minutes this allows me to debrief him on my day and what I got up to, whilst at the same time, I feel safe knowing that he’s ‘walking me home.’ I also find myself having long conversations with my Mum whenever I’m cleaning my room. Whenever I’m at home, Mum will usually sit on my bed and help me fold my clothes while we just chat for hours until my room is clean. So when I find myself cleaning my room, I’ll call Mum, put her on speaker and it’s almost as if she’s sitting on the bed with me (except I’m folding my own clothes).

We can recreate the notion of a ‘double reality’ (Foschini, 2009) where we can ultimately occupy two places simultaneously. I remember being young and saying to my Mum ‘there’s so many things I want to do, I wish there were two of me.’ And whilst there may not be two of me (just yet) by creating a double reality, it allows me to keep connected and occupy two spaces at the same time to increase productivity. This removes physical boundaries like distance and blurs the line between home and my new home.

Whilst I may not have yet managed to fulfil six year old Adelaide’s wish of having two of me, I’ve definitely been able to transcend distance and space through the use of technology and have my parents walk me home.

References

Foschini, T 2009, The Doubling of Place: The Electronic Media, Time-Space Arrangements and Social Relationships – Shaun Moores, Tori’s Blog, 3 April, accessed 24 October 2015, https://tfoschini.wordpress.com/2009/04/03/the-doubling-of-place-electronic-media-time-space-arrangements-and-social-relationships-shaun-moores/