I thought about writing this entry a week ago. However, I just didn’t know how to put what I was feeling into words. A part of me was coming to the realization that home would never be home again after you’ve left it for a significant amount of time. Home becomes some interim place between where you were and where you will go next. It’s as if you try to relive all your old ways, memories, patterns like it’s a movie you’ve seen a million times. But once you come back, it plays in black and white, and no matter how familiar all the lines are, something feels distant. Last week, I couldn’t care less if I didn’t come back for years.
A lot changed from last summer to this. This summer I said good-bye to a lot of friendships, many as old as elementary school. To be honest, I couldn’t tell you what went wrong. The thing is when move away, you hope it’s the memories of the times you spent together that will keep you close. However, the experiences you have when you are apart inevitably cause you to change, and some friendships just can’t bare that weight. A year ago, I thought those friendships would last forever, and, now, they have come to an end.
In the few days before I left, it finally hit me, I was home all along this summer. Suddenly, I was met the same feelings I possessed before moving to Hopkins one year ago; a stomach full of fear, sadness, and anxiety. Saying goodbyes are always hard. Last year, I knew that I would be home in a matter of months, but this time that certainty isn’t present. I bought a one-way, without the slightest notion of when I would come back.
Upon my arrival to the Chicago Midway airport, I discover that the seating at the gate for my flight to Baltimore was full, so I wandered to find a gate with some open seats. I found an open chair, and thinking nothing of it sat down and relieved my back of the excruciating pain my carry-ons were producing. Then I glanced up, and the sign above the gate read Minneapolis, Departs 11:50 AM. Then I thought if I had a blank ticket to go anywhere in the world, where would I go? There I was in the Midway airport, almost exactly mid-way between Minneapolis and Baltimore. Would I turn back and return to a place where the faces, places, and feelings are familiar? Or would I carry on to a place that I love, but at the same times elicits all these feelings of fear, giddiness, and anxiety?
But then I thought, I felt the exact same way last year. There were moments in the early part of my freshmen year that I would have given anything to go home. Of course there are moments of apprehension, and loneliness, anxiety, and nausea. Things always get better. So I finished my lunch at the Minneapolis gate, then wandered back to the gate to Baltimore, knowing that I couldn’t give up Hopkins, no matter how much I would miss Minnesota.
After to returning to Hopkins, I was filled with excitement, butterflies, and an unexpected and unwarranted surge of energy. It felt good to be back. But after my first night in my room, I woke up startled early in the morning. Something was missing. I glanced to the foot of my bed, to realize that my twenty-pound, oaf, and blob of cat, Pantaloons, was missing. There are always things and people you have to leave behind, and that’s the hardest part. But you have to learn to find the things that make this new place home.