Home, has many different meanings for many different people. I was lucky enough this past week to go back to America for the Thanksgiving holiday. Although I was extremely hesitant to go back to America after only four months here I was happy to do so, even for a short visit. The first few days were extremely bizarre, to be in somewhere you have known your whole life but to feel like an outsider in it, to find something about it distant and unfamiliar is quite unsettling.
I found all my loved ones in similar places as I left, but not quite the same, my parents older, my siblings more grown up, my friends falling apart from each other.
Immediately I rejected the idea of change in a place that has been a constant for me my whole life. This is not home if it just decides to change while I am gone, that isn’t fair. This cannot be my home now if it feels so unfamiliar as it does to me now. My brain protested, I can move but everyone else must stay the same!
After the initial adjustment I started to accept the slight changes my home has incurred since I have been away. My friends and family were still the same people even though they were moving on with their lives, and things may be pushing or pulling us father apart. I heard many times “It’s so nice to have you home!”, and I realized that yes this will always be my home no matter how different it gets from the frozen ideal it is in my mind, because home is not a place, home is a people. Home is being surrounded by people who love you and whom you love. That is the beauty of “home” you can find it wherever you go as long as you find people you can make a home with. Upstate New York will forever and always be my true home in my heart, and I now know I can carry it within myself and take it wherever life leads me.
After much delay (a missed flight costing me a day and a delayed flight costing precious hours of family time) I touched down at Rochester International, much to my dismay, to find that there was snow on the ground. I could see my breath getting out of the plane, a fellow Rochestarian passenger coming back from the Philippines was equally horrified. My parents picked me up from the airport, I thought we were never going to leave and my mom was just going to hold me and cry in my arms in the arrivals gate for the entire week. We went straight to my grandmothers house from the airport, this being a surprise visit, I thought I was going to be responsible for a heart attack when she first saw me.
Surprising friends and family was absolutely the best part of coming home. I went right over to my best friends house after my grandmothers and scared more than surprised him, and called everyone else over one by one. The best surprise by far was when I went to go pick up my little sister from college in Erie PA. I told her that I wasn’t able to get time off of work and have been avoiding her on Skype for weeks so I wouldn’t struggle to keep it a secret, so she had absolutely no idea I was coming home. When we pulled on campus I hoped in the trunk of my dads car and popped out when she opened it to put her things in. I heard a scream then got hugged and she started to cry and then punched me. All in the exact order I expected.
Bar night the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving was wonderful. A friend had a house party at their new apartment in downtown Rochester and I got to see everyone all in one night. Of course Thanksgiving in Rochester wouldn’t be complete without about a foot of snow and decorating Christmas cookies on Thanksgiving morning…
I had been dreaming of Thanksgiving dinner ever since buying my ticket home about a month ago and it was everything I wanted and more, way too much more. We celebrate dinner at my house, every year we have more and more people as my family expands with new members and we have friends and their families over…
One of our thanksgiving traditions is before dinner we go around and each say something we are thankful for. Easy one to pic this year, I am thankful every single day just to be alive each moment, and so grateful that I got to spend the time with my family that I did especially for the holiday.
What made this holiday particularly special was a family wedding the following day. My aunt married her long time boyfriend, whom for a while we’ve all already considered family. It was a great way to end my stay at home and gave me much to think about regarding family, and what constitutes a family.
Like home, family has a lot of different meanings to a lot of different people. Family may mean the people you are related to, but more so, I think it means, like home, the people whom you love and the people who love you. I realized over this vacation, that I am so so so lucky to have many places I consider home and many people I consider family. Oh don’t the holidays make everyone so sentimental…
oh yeah, and when I got back home to Nankan it was Christmas already!