I have been in the United States for 58 days now.
Jumping around from state to state and settling down in what I like to tell people is my home: Seattle.
To be honest though, I’m not really sure what I consider my home. My childhood house is sold, my parents live in two different cities-neither of which I grew up in and many of my childhood friends have settled in new cities and their parents have sold their homes as well.
Neither of my parents and none of my siblings reside in the city I grew up in today. Does that make it any less home?
I spent 18 years of my life meeting friends, walking the streets, going to one of the largest high schools and going through all of the ins and outs that come along with being a teenager there. There are so many memories packed into that city, I would be heartless to ever consider leaving them behind.
Other than one wayward summer in college when I found comfort in an old… friend, I haven’t spent much time at all there since my freshman year in Seattle at the University of Washington. I used to make that long commute back and forth across the seemingly barren lands in between the two biggest cities of Washington State quite often to work and visit my friends and family. But as everyone, including myself, got more into their lives and friends in their new cities the long commutes were less frequent until they seemed to only happen once a year.
When I left Spokane, like any young and wild heart I was so set on going that I never looked back. Then as I came back for visits things stayed mostly the same while all of my friends came home on the same college breaks as I was. There was a time after I turned 21 that Spokane became an entirely new world to me with open bars and streets to run around on. There was so much to see that I never knew existed.
There is a freeze frame that sums up those summer nights which I’m only able to see as one of those vintage faded screen shots that are popping up all over Facebook as everybody learns the wonders of the Hipster App on their iPhone 4’s.
Things are changing again. Just when I thought the transition periods were over, it’s all happening again. Friends have graduated and gotten real jobs that keep them from the luxury of making the trek across one of the many mountain passes to meet us at the all-time favorite Blue Spark in Downtown Spokane.
Now that all of these memories have changed, now that my family no longer takes up residence in the same house in which I learned to crawl and walk, before learning the best ways to sneak out and back in without waking Mom; does that mean it’s no longer home?
As long term travelers it can become a mixed up, muddled view of what ‘going home’ means. I tell people I’m from Seattle when in reality I don’t even have a pillow to lay my head in that city. Most of my family lives in the Tri-Cities in Central Washington but I have spent so little time there that I don’t even know how to get to the bank. Spokane’s streets I know like the back of my hand, but there is no familiar smell when I walk into a home I never lived in.
It has only been six years since I left all I knew in Spokane, and I think it takes longer than that to take the home out of the girl!
In reality, I have taken a little piece of each of these cities and tucked it into my luggage. There is a piece of home in all of them and I have a house, whether with friends or family, where I feel right at home in each. But Spokane, whether or not it grows up, will always be the place that I grew up in and it is still the city that holds more of my memories to date than any other in the world.