At least twice a week during my high school years, you could experience me saying something along the lines of “I can’t wait to leave St. Louis!” or “ I don’t know why people move back here after school. I WILL NOT be living here after college!” I was incredibly adamant that St. Louis was not the city for me, and I knew this for a fact because I was seventeen, and I knew everything, duh! In all seriousness though, I am positive that I never could have known just how much I love my hometown until I left. Now, moving to a college town in the middle of Ohio probably isn't the best way to prove myself right about not wanting to return to STL. But, even if I were spending my eight months of the year away in a bigger city or trendy area, I think I would still find myself missing some very important things from home.
There are the obvious things to miss, like friends and family but these are things I always expected to miss from home. The incredible people in my life make it quite tricky to be away from them. However, what I didn't expect was to miss is the 45-minute drive from my mom's house to my dad's house. Really, I miss driving in general since I don't have my car at school, but more specifically I miss driving down the roads and highways I have been driving since I received my license; the highways I have been riding on my whole life. I never thought I would miss the suburbs where I grew up. I love the parts of St. Louis closer to the city, such as The Loop where fun shops, restaurants and my favorite concert venues are stationed, but I didn't think about how much I loved the simple things surrounding my house. The Targets I have gone to forever, the boutiques, the grocery stores- all signs of the comforts of home. There is something so unexplainably wonderful about knowing exactly where you are going and recognizing everything around you. I never thought I would be such a sucker for the familiar, but now I know I am.
I truly believe every city has a community that you can only fully be a part of when you grew up in that place. Childhood memories and experiences create a larger bond than most of us realize or think about. To me, there will always be a sense of pride when I think of St. Louis because that is my community. I never experienced much pride for it all until I found myself living somewhere full of people from different places, many of whom had mutual pride for the area where I was now living. It took this transition to make me so much more grateful to be from St. Louis. I now feel the pride of being a Cardinals fan, of loving Imo’s pizza, of having enjoyed Ted Drew’s frozen custard and of knowing the wonders of toasted ravioli at every bar and grill there is. Until you leave the place you have always known, it is hard to feel the power and importance of being a part of a community you love and understand.
The important lesson I feel I have learned is realizing that there is so much to take for granted in life, and the grass isn't always greener somewhere else. I still plan on exploring new cities out of college, but now I am completely content with returning to St. Louis in the future as well. Finally, I understand there is nothing wrong with going home.