Growing up I was lucky that I never had to move as a child. Perks of being the daughter of a farmer, moving isn’t normally in the cards. This place will always be my true home and I am grateful that ever time I leave I know it isn’t goodbye forever. I love the way the cherry trees bloom in the spring and the how the apples trees smell in the fall. I love the anticipation of turning out our long gravel driveway and knowing that I am almost home.
However since I have been 18, I have moved twice every year. I have become an expert at moving. I have a very tried and true packing system. I have also learned just how easily I become attached to the places I call home.
There is something heart wrenching about see the place that you use to call home, empty and unrecognizable from the place you came to love as your home. It is if all the memories you have there, all of the adventures, all of the growing, all of the nights you stayed up late trying to figure out what it meant to BE in this life, are just gone. Washed away in the bare walls and the empty cupboards. It just gets me every time. I walk through to say my final goodbyes and replay the best moments. Then I see the empty rooms as erased memories and I just cry. I am not sure if I am weird or normal for doing this, but I have always been a bit of sentimental sap about these things.
One summer I lived white house with pink shutters on the corner of the street with two of my good friends. There was nothing special about that house, and yet there was everything special about it. It was not a very nice house. It looked like the type of house that you would imagine three broke college girls to live in. The toilet in the bathroom was crooked, probably because it was the only way to get it to fit in such a tiny bathroom.
Bottles and piece of wood held the windows open, because we never turned on our air conditioning and the windows didn’t stay open on their own. Screens were popped out from the various times that we have locked ourselves out and had to break into our house. It was never very comforting to find out just how easy it was to break into our house. However I still felt like a ninja as stood on a bike to reach the window, and then jumped in head first, ending in ninja roll.
The porch was pretty old and slanting, but we loved it and filled it with all of the mismatching chairs we collected. There was a computer chair on our porch that we found/took one night. The porch also had a broken love seat and this huge chair that we found on the side of the street labeled “free”. The porch was my favorite part of the house, and the big chair was my favorite part of the porch. I loved to sit in that chair on the porch. I spent a lot of time in that chair thinking about life and drinking coffee. It was my spot to sit, think, breath, and get away from the world.
My second favorite part of the house was the porch roof. My room was on the top floor, so from my window I could climb out and sit on the porch roof. As a child I had also wanted a window I could climb out of to get to somewhere cool. So as a 21 year old my childhood dream came true. I liked to climb out there at night and feel the wonderful summer breeze and look at the few stars that I could see. One day my roommate and I spent an entire Sunday out on that roof tanning. We had music playing, and a box fan suspended out of the window to keep us from overheating.
Now I find myself moving once again. This is the first time I have lived in one place for a whole year since I was 18. So I would think this place would be harder for me to leave than the others. I am a little sentimental about leaving my apartment. It is a nice apartment in a nice part of town with a nice park in my back yard. If I am being honest I do not have much nostalgia about leaving because truthfully I don’t know that I have much to feel nostalgic about. The truth is I don’t know that it ever really felt like home. I find that I was more attached to the house with the slanting porch that I lived in for three months than the place I have lived in for a whole year. It made me realize that home isn’t determined by the time spent there but the memories made there.
Nostalgia is defined as “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.” I think that is also a pretty good definition for what makes a home a home. A wistful affection for a place with happy personal associations.
I am sure I will still have a short teary eyed goodbye, but as I see my life packed up in boxes I feel more excited than nostalgic. I am excited to start a new adventure in my life, and I am excited to live in a place that already feels like my home. So here is to painting walls, planting gardens, and filling a house with memories until it turns into a home.