Rethinking “Home”

My, how things come full circle sometimes.

Back in August of 2008, as I prepared for my second year here at UM, I wrote a post explaining how Miami had become my home… how this was now the place where my “domestic affections were centered.” Back then, I could not wait to leave my hometown of Northbrook, Illinois and come back to Miami. Don’t get me wrong – I never really minded being in the suburbs of Chicago, but I certainly didn’t look forward to leaving UM for Northbrook. Now, here I sit, on the eve of my last day of undergraduate classes before student teaching, just over 6 months from completion of my undergraduate degree, and I feel the exact opposite. I can’t wait to go back to Northbrook, my real home.

How long have I felt this way? It’s hard to say, but I would estimate that it’s been a few months, but it has been more obvious in the past few weeks. Why the change of heart? That’s even harder to say. It’s been a roller coaster of a semester for me, physically, academically, emotionally, and mentally, so I may just be burned out on this stage of life. This is also the longest single period of time that I have been away from Northbrook; I was last back for three days over Memorial Day weekend in May, and before that was very early January of this year. Additionally, I think the Miami mindset is finally getting to me. My patience has worn thin with people who don’t take others’ thoughts into consideration whatsoever, and who make idle┬ácommitments┬áthat they don’t follow though with. This, along with many other probably subconscious thoughts, has caused me to truly miss Northbrook for the first time in the four years I’ve been here.

I was never the homesick type. I adjusted to life away from Northbrook very easily back in ’07; probably a lot more easily than my folks would have liked! Maybe it’s because Miami was new and exciting. Maybe it’s because I wanted to get away, no matter where I was. But now, as I look back on my four years here (not a moment of which I regret, by the way, despite the tone of this post), I realize for the first time what being homesick is like. It’s missing the little things… being greeted by our yellow lab Angel each time you walk in the house, even though you know it will result in all your clothes being absolutely covered in dog hair… being pestered by your mother about finding a job, even though you secretly appreciate the kick in the behind and know she is doing it because she cares… getting to catch up with a sister who has been away at her first few years of college and you only get to see a few times a year… hanging out with the boys at Buffalo Wild Wings (affectionately called “B Dubs”), watching some UFC fight we don’t really care about because we’re only there for the wings and the friends (and don’t forget the potato wedges!). That’s home to me.

Mom, Dad, Jess, Angel, Jay, Aaron, Zurad… I miss you all and can’t wait to see you in a few weeks.