Module one – My body knows when I’m home

by | Jun 4, 2022 | 5: Summer Course 2022, 5a Course Preparations | 3 comments

Kojam: a café-bar near my house that feels like home (sometimes even more than my actual house). The aesthetics, music, people (working and hanging out) that I know, the way of socialization that I’m familiar with.  

Sitting in kojam I recognize the information my body receives – my body recognizes the information it receives. This bodily familiar situation is what causes the feeling of home. I recognise the sounds: the coffee machine, the waitress’s tray when she is leaving it down, the motorcycles in a distance, the familiar voices or at least voices that communicate with a familiar way. I know the smells: coffee, fumes when a motor passes by between the tables, the restaurant nearby preparing the food, the smell of toasted bread every now and then (it’s the only food that kojam offers). I know what I am going to see: where the tables are and where I will seat depending on what or whom I want to see and by whom I want to be seen. I know which tables will be covered by sunlight and when this is going to happen. I have almost memorized the position of the decorations and the objects in the bar and the tables. I also know most of the faces. The tastes are familiar: the brand of the coffee, the way that they make it here (I can really tell the difference, each coffee tastes different for me in each bar). I know what I will touch, the texture of the glasses, the table, the chairs, the ground, the walls…

So I would say that home is the place where your senses know what to expect. There is no surprising stimuli.

Except from the touch there is an overall bodily condition that makes me feel at home. This is the main factor. My body know exactly how to react in the environment, how to behave. My body knows the distances, the weights, the sizes. It feels like the way that you open a cupboard in your kitchen to take something that you know where it is and you close the cupboard without even looking when you have already started your next move.

I will try to describe a scene with as much details as I can regarding to how I bodily behave there. I will try to not write about what I feel nor what I say. I will try to isolate my body. Here’s a day of my body in kojam:

Arriving at kojam I check who is working this day (if I don’t already know). Sometimes I check from the window before I get to the main door. I decide in which table and which chair I will sit depending on my needs. For example today I am looking for one of the table that the charger’s cable can reach the socket. One of the tables inside the bar or outside since sometimes I pass it through the open window. I leave my bags in the chair whith the way I now know it’s working best (so they will not fall ect), I sit in a familiar chair and I know the sound that it will make when I will pull it. I touch the table whose texture I recognise and I start paying attention to the music. My order arrives in the glass I was expecting and makes the familiar sound as the waitress leaves it on my table. The glass fits my hand easily, I know its weight, width and texture. Going to the bathroom I a familiar with the hight of the steps so there is no case I will triple (like a girl did near me when I am writing this text), I reach the light switch without looking and I know exactly how the door handle works. Going back to the table I sit and make myself comfortable very fast and I arrange my legs and hands with the way I always do knowing what works better for me. Finding the right  comfortable position is a huge part of the home feeling for me.

Describing, representing and experience a place is a non objective process. I am sure that the experience of kojam, like any other place, can differ from person to person as it is being filtered by personal criteria and identities. If we accept that spaces, occurrences etc they don’t exist with an external distinct way from our experience, they exist with the way they are being represented, they are just the way that they are being experienced and described. And if there are a lot of different ways that this can happen, it means that one single place, for example, includes, multiple places. Kojam has been experienced differently from every single person that has ever visited it. There are x kojams inside kojam (x stands for the number of people that have ever experienced it).

I tried to convey my feeling focusing on the bodily and sensory experience because these are for me the elements that come before and form my psychological state. I tried to observe myself and thoroughly describe the situation in order to make it approachable.  [In general, it’s almost impossible to think or feel something that is totally distinct from the information our body receives. Even if we eliminate the optical and acoustic modalities we are always being somewhere, walking, sitting, standing. We cannot be without our body.]

Gefsi

3 Comments

  1. Katrine Sirnes Nesheim

    I love how you describe this experiences so deeply, and I really understand it. Nothing is like finding “your” cafe. You have chosen the place for a reason and it feels so safe and good to sit there. I also have such a cafe. In the last year, many of the employees I have become good friends with have left, so it feels more unpredictable and less like a home. Just like you write about that home is a place the senses know what to expect.

  2. Eleni Gkrilla

    I really want to be there ! You made me feel your “home” and think about similar “homes” I have been to. And I liked how “anthropologically” you described your experience and thoughts about home. Thanks for your post!

  3. Jennie Gubner

    Thank you for this rich embodied description of your cafe. I love the way you focused on your senses and the experience of your body in the space. It is a wonderful example of sensory storytelling. I have had many close relationships to cafes as well. In particular when I lived in Bolivia in high school, there was a cafe we went to almost every day that was our home away from home for all the international students. By the time I left, I felt I knew the place so well I could recreate every crack in every chair, every sound, every inch of the place. I returned later to the same cafe, years had passed. It used to be a place where I knew everyone that walked in. It was so strange to see all the same artwork, same old chairs, same tables, my same favorite place by the window, but full of new people. There is a stillness when our bodies encounter known places where the context has changed so much. It really is wonderful to find “homes” that are shared by so many, and I think cafes are a great example of that.

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