This past weekend, I went back home to the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia for those who don’t know). My aunt had just celebrated her birthday, and my wonderful mother put together a surprise birthday dinner for her. She bought plane tickets for my brother and I to come back home from Boston, and I was at home for just about 32 hours.
As a college student, I’ve been home since being at school. However, every time I’ve been home it has been for a break for the holidays or the summer. Those times, all of my friends were also returning to our hometown, and hanging out with them made it feel like we had never left. But this time, things were different.
You see, coming home freshman year, you’re excited to reunite with your crew and want to run to your friends’ houses the first second that you pull up to your house, or even when your plane touches the ground. At least, that’s how I felt. I wanted to see everyone I could in the short span of time that was Thanksgiving break. I was fortunate to have one of my best friends surprise me at my house upon my arrival and then to go to a bonfire with a bunch of friends from high school, knocking a lot of people off of my list to catch up with and see. Everyone all had stories to tell about all of the new people we had met. In a lot of ways, it felt like old times.
That’s how it was for most of the other breaks freshman year. Not always a big bonfire with friends, but I was still able to see everyone that I had said goodbye to when we left for college. It didn’t feel like much had changed since high school.
Last weekend, no one was home except for one of my friends. It almost felt like I shouldn’t have been there. I felt like I was in someone else’s world. When I was a senior in high school, I felt invincible, like the world was my playground. This time, I was in someone else’s playground. The world didn’t revolve around this area and the people in it. I felt like somewhat of an outsider. Especially with the fact that I recently decided that I am staying in Boston for the summer, I am not sure where home really is at the moment.
I was lucky to have that friend to hang out with. She made me feel normal while being home for the weekend. We went on one of our notorious drives, where we span most of our county, drive to downtown DC, and spend some time in Virginia. We listen to throwback songs from our childhood — “Untouched” by The Veronicas and anything Taylor Swift are some of our favorites. We laughed hysterically at dumb jokes that we made and reminisced on different events from our 15-year friendship.
We visited my elementary school in Georgetown, and walked through Georgetown University. I used to have gym class at Yates Field House, the gym at Georgetown. As I walked down the pathways that I walked down in elementary and middle school, the nostalgia was killing me. I hadn’t walked that way since the eighth grade. Why was time going by so fast? How did this still feel so familiar? Does time ever feel like it’s going to slow down? I’m scared that the answer is no–it goes by so fast as is.
Although some aspects of this weekend didn’t feel like home, the dinner definitely did. My house is still my house and my room is still my room, with all its decor from my childhood and adolescence. All of my cherished memories are still there. The place where the dinner was held was where I made gingerbread houses growing up. I was with family that I spend holidays with, and this was another special occasion. We got to surprise my aunt, who deserves every great thing that happens to her. We were all in on the surprise, and she cried when she saw the table and especially when she saw my brother and me. We had a lovely night of conversation and it was a great time to be with family. These moments made me feel at home.
Here are other things that make me feel happy and at home:
-Hearing my mom call me “Snuggle-bug” and then squeezing me in a hug or listening to my dad say “What’s up Annie-baby!,” then ending his conversations with “Who loves you?”
-My oldest brother and I doing our secret handshake, or seeing a movie with my older one
-Watching a swim meet, The Office, or 10 Things I Hate About You
-A hug from a friend
-A walk on the beach
-Listening to music that is meant to make you feel something, anything
-Laughing about amazing memories with old friends, or new friends that I feel close to
-Eating Cava, crabs, or Old Bay fries
-Walking around cities and exploring my surroundings
-A few other things, once I think of them
~~ That’s all for this week. Thanks for livin’ life with Annie!