Home Is Where the Heart Is

On a recent trip back to my hometown, my friend asked me, “Does it feel like home when you come back to Rochester?” He posed an interesting question that I guess I’ve never been asked before, and I had to find the right words to accurately depict a real answer.

Sure it felt like home, but not in the same sense that it was when I was younger. I guess the idea of ‘home’ changed somewhere around spring of 2006. I spent the semester studying abroad in the Netherlands with 79 other kids from my college, and we all lived and took classes in this medieval castle. I went in there not really knowing anyone, but ended up leaving with a group of lifelong friends, the experience of traveling around Europe, and it essentially became a turning point into adulthood.

I’ve mentioned it briefly before, but while I was there I was introduced to a song called cathedrals by Jump Little Children. One of the lyrics from the song that I still connect to to this day says,

In the cathedrals of New York and Rome, there is a feeling that you should just go home – and spend a lifetime finding out just where that is.

It was true – this random castle in a sleepy Holland town became my home after 3 months, and although I absolutely loved it there , I was longing to go home to America to see my family and friends. Problem was – Boston slowly became my home and Rochester was the home I only ever knew before going away to college.

I’ll never forget one of the first nights back in the States. I was staying in my old dorm room, which was now occupied by some random granola crunchy girl. It hit me all at once – I was back in Boston – in America – the day I had been dreaming of for the past three months – yet I just broke down and cried. Like I was probably having a mental breakdown but I just sobbed out all my emotions and insisted i was okay. If I was exactly where I wanted to be, why was I so upset?

A year later, I officially moved to Boston. It was the first time I wasn’t going home to Rochester for the summer and the first time Boston felt like home too. Two years after that, I made a somewhat quick decision to move to Los Angeles and nearly four years later, a city I swore I would never move to has now become my home as well.

On the same recent trip to Rochester, I realized that I get the same questions from my parents’ friends. “Do you like it in LA?” Swear to God, the two times every year that I go to Rochester, someone asks me that without fail. I’ve always thought that was a weird question to ask someone, especially since I’ve been living in LA for so long. Of course I like it. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here still. It might be their way of making conversation or perhaps because I think too much into things, it might be their way of saying, “Why do you like it in LA so much? It’s so much better here in Rochester.”

My cordial answer to them is always a vague, ‘Yes I like it a lot. ‘ I don’t want to go into the reasons why LA can be annoying at times, because honestly who can say they love every single things about where they live and have no complaints? But yes, I like it, yes it’s home for me now, but so are these other places around the world. Anyone who’s lived in more than one place can relate. I feel like Voldemort leaving pieces of his soul everywhere but without the whole evil side of it. My heart is in Rochester, it’s in Boston, it’s in Well, the Netherlands. Who knows what will come in the future?  I’ll just have to spend the rest of my life discovering just exactly where home is.


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