The things they don’t tell you: about leaving home
With finals week around the corner (again), I’ve been starting to think a lot about home and whether or not I’ll be able to go back over the summer. I remember when I left for college, all I wanted to do was get away from it. Maybe it’s just part of growing up, but after three years of the “college experience,” home has once again become a good thing.
Home for me is in New Hampshire – rural New Hampshire. I chose to exchange the mountains and pine trees for the ocean and palm trees when I ventured off to Florida. I was fully convinced that I knew I what I liked. That included anything but New Hampshire; man, was I wrong! First off, Florida is really flat. I think the highest point in the entire state is either the causeways or the landfills. My house at home is literally on the side of a mountain. Also, Florida is wicked hot. People here wear winter jackets when thermometers read 70 degrees. I never thought I’d say I miss the cold.
Everyone’s heard the song “Home.” But, home isn’t just a place. It’s where people that you know are and where you feel comfortable. Since I’ve been thinking about it, there are quite a few things that I didn’t realize I would miss so much about home.
- Not having to explain your story: When you meet all the new people in college, you constantly have to explain the stories that everyone at home already knows about you. Don’t get me wrong, meeting new people is one of the best parts about going somewhere new, but it’s also the worst. Sometimes it’s nice to just be known.
- Family pets: Maybe this is a given for some people, but I had no idea how much I’d miss my dog when I went away. Now, every time I see a dog, I almost get sad thinking about him. Pets are amazing sources of affection and understanding, even if they’re also a pain in the butt.
- Popular sports: I never realized how big college football was in the south until I was in Baton Rouge during an Louisiana State University game. The people’s shoes were even purple and gold! Up north, hockey is the regional sport of choice as well as the language we’re all fluent in. I miss people asking what the score was instead of what hockey is.
- THE FOOD: A home cooked meal is hard to come by for a college kid, whether you live on campus or not. Not only the food itself, but sitting down at a table together is an impossibility. Usually, I’m rushing to eat a sandwich in between my classes. I dream about my dad’s famous calzones that he makes every weekend or my mom’s banana bread.
- Siblings: Yeah, I’m surprised they made the list too. Believe it or not, the more time you spend away from home, the more you miss them too. Being 1,200 miles away makes it much harder to hear about their lives and annoy each other. Skype is a pretty awesome invention, but it’s not the same thing.
- Outdoor activities: Since I moved to Florida, I learned that “summer” is actually just code for hiding inside your house in the air conditioning. New England summers are just as eventful as our winters. I miss hiking and swimming and skating and stargazing, and the list goes on.
I didn’t think a lot of this stuff would matter when I left New Hampshire. I guess I didn’t know exactly what I wanted. Or maybe I changed with my experiences. Either way, home really is where the heart is, and I can’t wait to go back.