I’m still working on it: Home is where the heart is

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Photo by Amanda Lee

Missing my crazy, wonderful, dysfunctional, can't-live-with-them-can't-live-without-them family.

By Amanda Lee, adjunct columnist ('12)

I miss home. I didn’t think I would, but I do. Sometimes, it still hits me that I’m not in high school, I’m not with my classmates and friends that I’ve grown up with, and that my family is actually 3,000 miles away across an entire ocean. It’s strange to think that the places and people that I’ve always associated with home, aren’t here anymore.

A part of it is exciting because I love the idea of being somewhere new, of meeting new people, and of trying new things. But a part of me misses the old things. I miss the drive I took to school and strangely enough, picking out which shade of blue polo to wear with my khaki uniform bottoms.

I miss being able to look up at the sky and see the stars. I miss the beach. I haven’t been to the beach once since I’ve been here, and that makes me so sad.

Mostly though, I miss my family. I miss my siblings and our squabbles. I miss my mom’s home-cooked meals because cafeteria food gets old really fast. I miss my old routine, my old norms, my old life.

In my sociology class, we talked about mirrors. Not actual mirrors, but the mirrors that we build around ourselves to help us see who we are and how we identify ourselves. These mirrors that we build can be found in the things we do, the people we hang out with, and the places we go. They reflect us. Our personalities, our likes and dislikes, and the type of person that we are.

But, when you leave the people and the places that you’ve built your mirrors in, your mirrors shatter and you have to figure out who you are all over again.

Granted, you’re not starting from scratch, but you’re in a new place, a new environment with new people. You have the opportunity to shed any reputations, expectations, or images that you used to have and reinvent yourself.

Reinventing yourself is exhausting.

While there’s nothing wrong with branching out, trying new things, meeting new people, and building up those mirrors again, it can be tiring.

Sometimes, I long for the familiar; for the people who knew my back story, who knew about my past and my history.

I long for the people who knew me. Because, then I wouldn’t have to explain why I thought this one thing was funny, why I always have to do that odd thing, or why I say a certain something.

People back home get me, know me, understand me. There was a mutual understanding of who each other was and what they were like.

In college though, when you’re essentially starting all over, there is no understanding. There is no reference page to look back on.

Sure, it’s new, it’s exciting, and exhilarating, and maybe you feel a little dangerous and cool. You’re a new person meeting new people, studying new things at a new school, and living in a new room. Everything is shiny and glamorous and untouched. It’s pure; a clean blank slate where you can write anything and everything or nothing at all. You are the master of your universe.

But, being the master can be a little lonely. Because, at the end of the day, when you’re lying down in the dark in your new bed sleeping next to people you hardly know, you realize that you’re in an unfamiliar room, surrounded by unfamiliar people at an unfamiliar school. Everything is a first, and that’s daunting. Firsts are hard.

Sometimes, I wish for seconds, or lasts, for things that I’ve done before and become accustomed to. I wish for the routine and the regular. I wish for the comfort of worn beds and ritual conversation. I wish for the familiar, the known and the practiced; for the memorized, the habit, and the unconscious subtleties that embellished my life.

Sometimes, I just wish for home.