Home has always been a difficult term for me to describe to others. For me, I call any place I'm currently living in home. At the end of my senior year, my sorority sister's had given me a senior superlative - the Nomad Award, obviously very fitting. Everywhere I have travelled and lived have been places where I left my heart. I leave my heart time and time again in NYC every time I visit. I left my heart at Chicago's Navy Pier when I visited in the 7th grade. I left my heart in Costa Rica when I studied abroad 2 summers ago. I left my heart at Ashland University, where I met many of my lifelong friends. As I move to Europe, I am sure that I will find another home as well.
While all of these places I may consider home, there is the one home that is the standard "this is home." You know what I mean. It's the physical building that you may have grown up in. You may still have a bedroom there filled with your childhood sentiments that bring back a serious case of nostalgia. For the past week, I've revisited this home.
It's weird to go back to the place of all those memories I try to remember and other memories to not remember. It sounds cliche but the best way for me to sum up home is in a quote from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button -
“It’s a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realize what’s changed, is you.”
While here I made a point to eat lunch at the two restaurants I waitressed at in high school - Oser's Dairy & Deli and Sister's Century House Restaurant. Not a single thing had changed since 2010 (the year I went away to college). Same menus, same decor, same hours, same customers and workers. While at Oser's, I heard a young boy's voice yell "Ashliegh!" from behind me. Startled, I turned around. When I realized it was the voice of a much older gentleman, I was instantly humbled and saddened. My former boss's once deep voice had left him during a stroke.
Announcing my great European adventure was a whole other story. Many expressed concern for my travels and asked many questions to ensure that I had done my research. Other's told scary stories that they probably got from movies like "Taken." Those who expressed their own desires to travel were far and few. I guess I should expect something like that from a small town. Sometimes home sucks you in and releases so much nostalgia within you, it can be hard to let go.
It's ok to stay if it's something that makes you genuinely happy and allows you to reach your highest potential. For me, I know there is more out there to explore, to experience, and to enjoy.