Happy Thanksgiving to my American Friends! Everyone not in the US, Happy last Thursday of November and the official start to the Holiday Season!
It is a concept that so many of us know, so many of us have an idea. Home is where the heart is; you can have a house but not a home. In all, home is a concept, it is something that we create in our emotional minds that comforts us in our time of need and helps us to feel rooted when the world is seeming to spiral out of control.
You can live somewhere for many years and yet never really feel at home there. When I moved to Charlottesville and New York, for whatever reason, this wasn’t a problem for me. I instantly felt like I belonged there. I didn’t have any need or inclination to rush back home. I didn’t feel homesick. I felt like, for whatever reason, that at that moment, I belonged.
As this is my blogiversary week (thank you again for all of the congratulations) as well as Thanksgiving, I am in a bit of a retrospective mood. The past year has seen me change completely. From a server still trying to make it as a preservationist (but knowing that my heart didn’t lie in it), spending all of my time alone, and feeling like a balloon buffeted about by the Chicago wind.
I remember one time (to be fair, I was also changing some hormonal things around, so this was a bit more of a blow up than it might have otherwise been) bursting into tears with Alex and just crying that “I want to go home.” And then feeling even more awful because my home should have been wherever he was. And it is, but physically, I just wanted to be in Georgia or Virginia. I had a similar situation this past week–I was so uncomfortable that all I wanted to do was just to go home (while sitting on the couch, at home). I wanted Alex to be there (he was at work at the time), I wanted to be home.
My feelings toward Chicago have changed immensely over the past year. I credit a great deal of that to getting my job that I love and adore this summer as well as the amazing people that I really and truly can call real-life friends that are in the city. We (through the comments), have spoken about how amazing it is that I am doing all of these things, these exciting events, that it is just so cool. Alex and I have always liked Chicago. I loved it when we first came. And I have a fantastic time in this city. I really do.
But I don’t think it will ever be home. Not like the East Coast. And not like my beloved Georgia.
I posted a picture that I took yesterday on Instagram of the wood pile behind our (now full-time, previously just our weekend/lake) house.
It isn’t in the center of the city. In fact, it is way out in the sticks. Seriously. Like, 12ish miles to the nearest gas station. When I was a kid, I had a serious love/hate relationship with how remote it is. And I probably still would if I lived here full time.
What I am thankful, this Thanksgiving, is for the concept of home. Home, for me, is two places: with Alex (yes, babe, it is indeed with you) and the East Coast, with my mom. Specifically, Georgia. There is something about flying in, seeing those license plates, and smelling our air. The air here smells of pine (and, at the moment, of wet leaves). During the spring, it smells of dogwoods, magnolias, bradford pears, and cherry blossoms.
The colors of the azaleas and cherry trees make the world a riot of color. In the summer, you sweat a lot, you wait for the storms in the afternoon to break the heat, and you swear at the mosquitos, and you drink a Coke (which might be a Sprite, a Diet Coke, a Root Beer, whatever, but you call it a Coke). In the spring and fall, the air smells of soccer fields (fresh cut onion grass, and hives, most likely), your cars are covered in pollen, and then the leaves literally look like you have set the world on fire. Winter smells of fires in fireplaces. And pecan and apple pies. And always, always with my mom involved. She is in every one of these pictures.
I am writing this not to say I HATE YOU CHICAGO or I’m soooooo out of here. But rather I am writing it to say that, Hey, Chicago, you are like the really awesome guy that I met at a party, or a work event, or at a coffee shop, and you are super good looking, and smart, and you wear those jeans so damn well. Oh, and you’re successful? Total package.
But here is the number of my best friend, who is single. I’m already taken. But you are awesome, and need to be kept in the circle. You are someone else’s “home.”
I have two homes. One is currently working nights. The other? It is curled up, just about anywhere in Georgia, with my mother.
And this Thanksgiving? I am thankful, so thankful, that I get to enjoy them both, though not at the same time. Even though the houses may not be my homes, I will be with the people that make it so. And maybe, just maybe, Chicago will become more than just a place that I “lived in.”
And I am obviously thankfulful the pie. The pie is at home inmamouth.
Have you ever felt bad that though you really really really liked a place (or a person) that it just never was “home” for you?
Where is home for you?