I’ve been wrestling a lot with the idea of home lately. It was fall break this weekend and a lot of people on campus decided to go back home. But what is home exactly? I always thought that once you go away to college that now becomes your home of sorts. Your shitty dorm room that’s too cold on a floor with people you don’t really like becomes an odd comfort. The place becomes so familiar you don’t need your phone flashlight to guide you as you stumble in at 3 am.
This summer I went back to Puerto Rico. My parents were working and my brother and sister were constantly out getting things ready for their first semester of college, so I spent a lot of time at the house by myself. The amount of times I got caught on door frames and bumped into the kitchen counter was ridiculous. One night I even face planted against the wall in the dark thinking I had already made it to the bathroom door. At first I thought I was just being clumsy, but this place had become so unfamiliar to me in the five months I had been away it felt like the house itself was rejecting me.
I guess home is the place where you feel like you belong. After the initial charm of delicious food and friends I’ve missed I began to remember why I left. The last couple of weeks of summer I couldn’t wait to get back to Morgantown, to get back home. I truly believed this, humming Country Roads under my breath when I was alone in my room.
But now I’m back, and I’m not sure anymore. I’ve always prided myself in not feeling homesick. I miss the weather more than I miss my parents. After spending six weeks in South Korea I only felt homesick in the airport on my way back to the States, because I felt like I was leaving home, not coming back to it. But now I’m starting to get these feelings that I was supposed to feel when I first got here. The numbness that the newness of everything provided is now fading away, like painkillers wearing off after getting your wisdom teeth removed.
I don’t think I’m homesick, not exactly anyway. It’s more of a nostalgia. I’m positive that the moment I get back I’ll realize that I don’t really want to be there. Yet, I can’t help but miss the familiarity of it all.
Or maybe it’s the exact opposite. Morgantown is now becoming familiar to me, and some part of me finds that threatening. I’m always running away in some form. I went to South Korea because I wanted to run away and I transferred to WVU because I wanted to run away. And now I’m itching to run again, and Puerto Rico seems like the only viable solution at the moment. But I know that that won’t solve anything. If there’s anything I’ve learned is that you could run away to another galaxy, but you can’t run away from yourself.