The concept of home is a challenging one for me. There are so many ways to interpret it. Where I was born, where I grew up, where I have spent the most amount of time, where I
feel most connected to (geographically, that is), where my friends and family are, where the man I love is. If only all of those things could be in the same place! But of course, as the case is for most people, they are in quite different places for me. I was born and raised (for most of my childhood and adolescence) in northern Massachusetts. I went to school six hours away in Pennsylvania. I moved to California, a place I had fallen in love with as a child and somehow “knew” was the place where I belonged. I spent 6 months studying abroad in Tanzania, a place I had known I would go to since before grade school. I lived in New Hampshire while I got my Master’s degree and got engaged. I have lived in Virginia for six years, during the most productive time in my career as well as the most painful moments of my life, and all the moments that followed while I put myself back together. My friends are scattered far and wide across the country. Most of my family is scattered along the Eastern Seaboard from top to bottom. I am not married. I have not worked in my field for three years. I am in transition. But where will I find myself when I begin the next chapter? The place that feels most like home? (Sacramento) Or somewhere closer to most of the people I love – perhaps here in Virginia?
People always say “home is where the heart is” and “just follow your heart; it will always lead you home.” What if my heart is scattered in all directions, pieces of it residing in the places I love most, California and Tanzania, and pieces fumbling around trying to keep up with all the people I love all over the country? For a time, I was convinced that I could not be happy anywhere but northern California. Then it came time to go, and the ties that bind me to the people on the East Coast fortified themselves, and I chose to stay. The pattern has repeated itself. I find that now I am, for whatever reason, inclined to stay here, though I still ache to be back in Sacramento. My mother always taught me that home is where your friends and family are. I know this is the reason I’m still here. And perhaps it will keep me here. But I’m not sure if it will ever convince me that this place is truly home.