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Home Is Where…?

This past year I went home to Boston for a little over a month, in total. I spent three months during the summer in Los Angeles. The remaining eight months, I was in Charlottesville.

When talking about the idea of “home” my friend relayed that her mom gets mad at her when she refers to UVA as home. But, what exactly is home at this point in our lives? This past summer I spent three months living in Los Angeles. I wasn’t visiting, I wasn’t just stopping by, I was living there. I had a desk chair, a bedspread, and received mail at an LA zip code. It’s not “home”, but it certainly wasn’t just a pit stop either.         

While my summer living situation might not constituent “home”, does Charlottesville? When I’m asked where I’m from the obvious answer is Boston—I was born and raised there, and I am from there. But is Boston home? My bedroom at home has been cleared of all clothing which I actually enjoy wearing (save a few winter jackets that I don’t require in the slightly more amiable Virginia weather). Much of the art has been removed from the walls and what remains was put up in high school when I still thought that The Nightmare Before Christmas was the coolest. When I return home for Thanksgiving or Christmas, things feel a little odd. But when I returned to Charlottesville after a long summer in LA, things felt… right.

I drove back to Charlottesville from the Outer Banks this year, and while I passed through Richmond, my heart raced each time I saw a sign for Charlottesville. I stayed living in the same apartment complex, and so after dealing with the ever-aggravating 90-degree hill on Rugby Avenue, I pulled into my parking lot, trudged up the stairs with my suitcases and found my room. My art hanging on the walls, my UVA garden gnome welcoming me from my desk, and my laundry pile on the floor. I felt like I had returned to somewhere I belonged.

I don’t want to stay in Charlottesville after I graduate, but I have grown very attached to this city in Virginia. My family is in Boston, and my hometown is elsewhere, but for right now, Charlottesville may be home. I’m a fourth year and just trying to figure out where I feel most comfortable, but these thoughts pervade because the idea of leaving has become a reality and I have to think, where do I want to be?

Sometimes it’s good to feel the tensions of varying affections. Sorting out the things that draw and repel you, understanding what exactly makes home, “home”, helps with creating one in the future. 

Katrina Margolis graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in English and Film. She served as the senior editor of HC UVA for two and a half years. She is currently an assistant editor for The Tab. Wahoowa! 
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