Something At Home Doesn't Feel Right

It has been 1965 hours that I’ve been back home in the Bronx, New York. That many hours ago, I was in school in State College, Pa. working on my degree and lifting up the Latinx community at Penn State University.

 

And, in the matter of four months of being in State College and only being home for a total of maybe a little over a week, this entire year has been shaped based on the State College environment. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are amazing people in State College. But, the ambience isn’t the same in the Bronx. And coming home from those four months of being in school, really damaged me.

 

I was so focused on my involvements and school work that I was too busy to go home during the semester. There was probably one time, other than spring break, that I went home for the weekend.

 

To get a little bit of backstory as to why I’m even writing this: the Bronx is home. The Bronx is different. The BX shaped me to be who I am today. No, I can’t walk the streets smiling at people like I do in State College (let’s be honest, that’s just weird). No, I can’t carry a wallet in my back pocket without having to check every two minutes to see if it is still there.

 

The Bronx isn’t a bad place. It just isn’t State College. And I cannot do certain things I’ve done in State College, in the Bronx.

 

I've gotten so accustomed to walking around freely, speaking with a more-so “valley girl” accent (yes, I’m aware this is code switching). I felt comfortable in State College, forgetting that the people that are in State College are not the same people that are in the Bronx.

 

And I love the people of the Bronx. While I was at school, I couldn’t wait to get back home to the Bronx to really dive into what is wrong with it and see what needs to be changed. I was given so many leadership opportunities during the course of the year at Penn State that I wanted to bring with me to the Bronx.

 

But, I forgot that I have to think a little differently in the Bronx. It isn’t like I’m trying to make everyone bond and feel comfortable where they are like I did in Penn State. It is more work.

 

It is making sure that you are checking your surroundings and don’t see anyone in danger. It is seeing that there are broken roads in the Bronx that need to be fixed. It is seeing stray cats on the streets that need a law or policy passed to give them homes. It is making sure gentrification isn’t kicking people out of their homes and closing down small mom and pop businesses.

 

The Bronx needs more help than I care to admit, but it isn’t all bad. I just realized that the work I’ve been doing at Penn State isn’t the same as the work others are doing in the Bronx.

 

Did you know that the only bookstore in the Bronx closed down? BARNES & NOBLE CLOSED. That left us with not one bookstore in the Bronx. But, rest assure a new bookstore opened up and I’ll get more details on them once I visit.

 

The point is, I’ve been away from the Bronx for far too long. I forgot that I have to switch up the way I live to better assimilate to my home environment. It isn’t a bad thing, but it wasn’t an easy thing to adjust back into.

 

I love my home. The boogie down is my home. It just took some time for me to remember why I called it home in the first place.