When I was 9, my dad built a trailer to pull behind our red Malibu classic station wagon. We crammed it and the car full, leaving just enough space for my little brother’s car seat to sit in the middle of the back seat and me next to him. I don’t remember much about that move, because I slept through much of it. My strongest memory of that trip is the afternoon stop for coffee. Wherever we were I would always order the cherry pie. The end result of that trip was our eventual move to Aberdeen, Wa.
For the next thirteen years, if anyone asked me where I was from my first answer was always Minnesota. My logic was that I was born there, and all my extended family was there: my aunts and uncles, older and younger cousins. When I met my cousin for lunch the other day, she reminded me of something else. Apparently, I also used to constantly talk about moving back to Minnesota. Someday I would live here again. Though I don’t remember talking about this in particular, I don’t doubt it is true. Well, after thirty-two years, I have apparently gotten my wish.
As with most wishes this is good and bad.
Now that I am ostensibly “home.” I feel less at home, and more homesick, than I have in a long time. The gift of not having strong ties to particular physical space is that I can general make any place I am feel like home. The problem with this is that my definitions of home are often tied to particular groups of people.
So, while I don’t miss the job, the humidity, the struggles I faced, the decrepit house we lived in, I do miss my Southern friends, my Southern family. Though many of my grad school friends have moved on to their careers other places, the most important were just an hours drive away. My work friends, who I never saw enough of, the most important of whom I could have worked with again this year. My Durham friends, who I saw even less of, but who had just moved less than a mile away. Though not ideal in so many ways, my Durham life had just coalesced in important ways; yet, between May and July I blew it apart.
Certainly missing my friends isn’t the only thing making me feel less than at home in my new location, but it is probably the most obvious and least complicated.