As I lay in bed, my eyes still shut, I listen to the birds chirping outside in the early Prague morning. The window remained open all night and the sun rays are just beginning to peak in.
Suddenly, the room is filled with a loud ‘Vroom’ along with the popping and sputtering of a car engine coming to life. The sputter of the car continues as the driver revs the engine over and over again.
My eyes open in annoyance. Yet, just for a second, I am confused when I open my eyes to my bedroom in Prague. There is a small part of me that was ready to step out of bed onto the carpeted floor in my Colorado bedroom and run to the garage to yell at my brother.
“It is eight in the morning and there is absolutely no reason for you to wake the entire neighborhood up with your stupid car!” I would usually say.
However, I’m not at home and I haven’t been for almost six months. I haven’t seen my brother since New Years Day and I haven’t heard the revving of his engine since last May when we moved out of our childhood home.
Yet, I can picture it perfectly. The sound of the engine, the sound of his giggle as he realizes he has achieved exactly what he wanted: annoying me.
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When I was at school this past semester, a coworker would make a South Park reference and my brain would immediately go to my two older brothers sitting on the couch laughing at the dumbest show ever made.
I would step outside and suddenly the smell of my grandparents' tiny town in Northern Colorado would fill the air, even just for a second. I was transformed into my five-year-old self playing in the yard with my cousins. Cousins who I now haven’t seen for almost three years.
As I take a bite of food I cooked up for dinner, I will realize my mom taught me this recipe and think of her standing next to the kitchen counter, talking to me for hours as she cooked, cleaned or just listened.
The smell of burning food will fill the kitchen as one of my roommate's yells, “I forgot I’m cooking!” and instantly I am home giggling at my mother’s cooking skills.
As my roommate pours a box of puzzle pieces across the coffee table, I can see my mom standing over our 2,000-piece puzzle of Claude Monet’s “The Water Lily Pond.” — a puzzle we worked on for over a year. I can see the look on her face mixed with joy, relief and frustration as she put the final piece in.
That was almost 5 years ago.
The smallest things can trigger the sense of home. Sometimes it can trigger a feeling or a memory I haven’t felt since I was 10 years old. Yet it sits there, in my brain and in my heart, waiting for the perfect moment when I just need that little sense of home to keep the homesickness at bay and push me through the next couple of months until I can hug my brothers again or laugh all night long with my mom.
Gentry Keener (she/her) is a junior studying journalism and political science.