Ever since I got back from London I've been struggling a little bit with the concept of "home." Home is, of course, the house I grew up in, the little red house with my bed and walls and walls of bookshelves and the view of the park from the front windows. Home is my mom and my dad and my sister and my cat. Home was the place I went back to from school, where there were home-cooked meals and less homework and catching up that needed doing. Ithaca wasn't ever home in that sense - Ithaca was a place where I went to school, that I missed when I was away more because of the other people who gathered there than because of any specific ties to the place itself.
And then I went to London, and things got complicated. Those old-fashioned streets where they drive the wrong way became more home to me than Ithaca had ever been. My little Victorian row house of an apartment started rivaling the little red house in New Jersey. I was independent there. I was my own person there, in a way I'd never really been before. I could catch a bus to Cardiff or a plane to Prague if I felt like it. But that home was the home of adventure and independence, not the home of home-cooked meals and mom and dad.
Things got weird when I came "home" from "home." Which one was really home? What was I supposed to do about it? I couldn't just up and move to London - for one thing, the visa stuff would be a nightmare, and for another, I couldn't permanently move across the ocean from my parents. I'd miss them too much.
And then one of the biggest connections to my first home broke. The girl who'd been my best friend since we were in the fifth grade stopped speaking to me, for no discernible reason, in August.
I haven't really wanted to talk about this online, partially because I was too devastated by it to form coherent, not-whiny thoughts, and one does not wish to whine about one's personal life on the internet, especially if one wants one's blog to remain a professional writing blog. I'm past the point where I think I would come across whiny, but that has changed everything for me. It's turned what used to be home into something like deja vu - something I recognize, but that's out of place, not quite right.
I'm not moving home after graduation next month. There are a lot of reasons for that, some probably better than others. I'm not moving home because I really love living with my roommate Lisa, because she's the coolest person I know and because she's my best friend and because she's super easy to live with, and because if I stay with her I won't have to find a new place to stay by myself. I'm not moving home because I don't want to have a kind of limbo waiting period - I want to start my adult life, I want to take care of myself, I want to have my own place, my own things, and here, I'm lucky enough to be able to do just that. I'm not moving home because I think I still need more time to get over the most epic of all friend break-ups, one that I'm still having a hard time keeping from coloring the past eleven years as some kind of lie. I'm not moving home because I can't afford to live in New York City yet.
Those reasons for not moving home don't include disliking home. I have an awesome relationship with my family, one that I think is far, far better than the one most people my age have. Of course I'm going to miss them a lot.
But I'm going to be in Ithaca, not London. I can always visit that first home, and I certainly plan to. Hopefully my family will come visit me when they can, too. (I've already made plans to kidnap my sister after she graduates high school.)
Lisa and I just put a deposit on the apartment we'll be living in for probably the next two years. I'm trying to find a job to keep up with that apartment, but aside from a slight sense of panic that graduation is SO SOON and things are ending SO SOON, I'm extremely excited. I love the apartment. Our landlady is extremely nice. It looks like an area that will be beautiful when the leaves turn in fall.
I'm excited to carve out a new kind of home for myself - to get a real person job, to have my own place, to get my own cat (his name shall be Mr. Darcy and he and I shall be the best of friends). I'm ready for some new adventures. I'm ready to figure out just what this concept of home really means.