To leave the place where one was born and raised is nothing short of thrilling.
Old wisdom says ‘home is where the heart is,’ and while this may be true, the opportunity to leave it and settle into a new environment can be an invaluable window of self-discovery and open up a whole new world of thoughts, friends and opportunities.
But where is home?
With the ability to make a life in a wide and varied amount of settings and with the young adult years being such a transient period in the lives of many, the question becomes even more relevant and more complex.
Some know they were always meant for the hustle and bustle of New York City and the East Coast; others, the laid-back vibes of California or the comforting familiarity of the Midwest.
If you’re like me, you likely remember the day you moved to IU like it was yesterday: the heavy, humid summer air, the sore muscles from moving box after box into tiny dorm rooms, the feelings of hope and anticipation. The fulfillment of being entirely on one’s own and having the freedom to do virtually whatever you want, whenever you want, without supervision.
I look back on the day fondly because it was the beginning of the establishment of my new home.
I’ve been out of the country for almost seven months now, and when I get the pangs of nostalgia or the longing for a familiar place, a natural side effect of going abroad for a long period of time, it is Bloomington that I’m dreaming about. I’m thinking of house shows, of basketball culture and tailgating and soccer games, of cheap American beers and long, late nights of questionable decisions.
I’m thinking of how the campus looks on a calm weekend afternoon — desolate and majestic. I think of how clearly I can see the stars at night, of lying in the courtyard of my old dorm and staring up at the night clouds whenever I had too much on my mind.
It’s become clear to me that Bloomington is my home now, and even though it will only be mine to call home for a year more, it will always have a spot marked “home” in my heart.
At the same time, throughout the past seven months I’ve realized it’s possible to establish a “home” nearly anywhere. As my time abroad continues to tick away, I’ve been forced to realize that soon, instead of longing for Bloomington or the house I grew up in, I’ll be missing the places I’ve called my temporary home throughout 2013.
I’ll miss my co-workers, my favorite coffee shops and the people there who now know be my name. I’ll miss the feeling of living completely on my own, knowing I can choose to do whatever I want, whenever I want, without checking in with anyone. I’ll miss speaking my second language every day, saying “buen provecho” and greeting everyone with a warm embrace.
Defining home is something I’ve struggled with, because no matter where I am, I will always be away from somewhere or someone I love.
I have no idea where I’ll be when I graduate in a year. It could be Indiana or it could be somewhere across oceans and thousands of miles away.
But I accept the transience. I embrace it. Because when it comes down to it, home is where you are present – where you choose to plant roots, have conversations with strangers that become friends and acquaintances, find your favorite coffee shop, and make your rented room into a home.
Home is where you believe it to be.
Home is anywhere.
Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.