Home Away From Home

What is home? In my sociology class a visiting professor asked this exact question last week. While this may seem like a simple question, and for many it is; the answers from the class would make it seem anything but. The initial answers were as one would expect, the home is a physical place,the structure that holds some of our most valued possessions, our bed, our fridge, our photos and our many treasured memories. For others home was answered not as a physical place but as a group of people, our families, our friends in other words our loved ones. The final group of people answered by saying that home was thought to be more a connotation then anything else, warmth, safety, happiness, and most importantly feeling held. 

    As a freshman in college this first thanksgiving is a big one, it's a break no longer encapsulated by the warm meat and the full bellies but rather the first time that everyone who went away whether in school or on a new adventure is ‘’home,’’ in the same place at the same time. When I boarded my flight last Monday I had thought that I had thought through it all, any possible weird friendship dynamic, the idea that I would be living under my parents eyes again and the inevitable sibling fights that were to come. If it isn’t obvious already, I take overthinking to a whole new level. What had never occurred to me to think through was the feeling of lying in my own home, in my own bed and yet feeling anything but at home. Yes, this was the place I knew best, the place I had spent 18 years and yet for the first time I felt not like I was returning home after a brief hyattis but rather that I was a visitor in a place that I knew way too well to be visiting. With my suitcase spilled over on my floor, my toiletries in small bags, my closet and drawers barren and an alarm set on my phone to remind me to check into my flight it was hard not to feel like this, like my home was so temporary. 

On reflection I realize how contradictory this statement is, the physical structure of my house is permanent that is assuming no natural disasters or fire effects it, so its not the structure that is temporary. The temporary component of the house is the house feeling like home. 

    I know I am not alone in this grappling, grappling with what is and is not home immediately after leaving for the next chapter of life is not only common but should in fact be expected. I am beginning to realize that I have a new answer for the visiting professors question of what is home? Home is what you make it, home is a mix of security, loved ones, a place that you feel safe in, and most importantly a place that you want to come home whether it be every day, every month or once a year.