Second Homes

They’re a funny thing, second homes. Especially when you’re a college student and your living arrangements (most likely) change from year to year. There’s a quote I often stumble upon, “Home is not a place, it’s a feeling.”

I have to both agree and disagree with this statement. Home is most certainly a feeling. When I go camping, the campsite & tiny tent become my idea of “home” when I say, “let’s head home” after a long day. Growing up, on family vacations, “home” became whatever hotel or vacation rental we were residing in for the extent of the trip.

Home is not only a feeling, but it’s the people. More on that in a bit.

Home is, also, a place. My home base, forever and ever, will be in Maryland. Specifically, a big brick house with a green oasis in the back and two furry friends that we welcomed in to our human family. From the airport near the city, take the highway, then an exit, and from there, you’ll be on the back roads for a bit, and then you turn onto my street. Perched upon a grassy hill is the home where I grew up. The kitchen is no longer the one that I grew up in, with ’90s wallpaper and children’s scribble underneath the island.


The memories, though, they’re the same. And the people, despite the fact that we come and go, we’re still the same. Taller people, yes, and my brothers look more like men now, so I can no longer wrap my arms over their shoulders in family pictures anymore, but we share so much in our similar life stories.

We ate the same dinners, watched the same cartoons, chose our dog together, jumped in the pool together, ran through the spazzy flower sprinkler together. It’s the people that I created these feelings of home and these memories of home with that created my first “home.”

And now, in Boulder, Colorado, my second home, and the best I could have ever imagined, it’s still the people. It’s my field hockey teammates, my Alpha Phi sisters, my yoga teacher training omies, the girls in my dorm, and all of my very best friends. Without them, it would have just been me, in an unfamiliar town with mountains towering above me, unsure and anxious. My new “home”, but not yet a warm and welcoming and loving one. Not until the memories were made and the adventures were had.


The memories I created my freshman year in Boulder allowed for me to feel at home. A different feeling than the one from my Maryland home, but the feeling of home was present nonetheless.  The people that I shared these memories with are why I’m so thrilled and overwhelmed with joy at the thought of flying back into Denver in a few short days.


I’m not alone in this feeling, as so many students my age are gearing up for another year of college, and some are headed out to begin as freshmen. And if you’re a freshman, no matter how far you’re going from your first home base, I promise you, second homes are just as magical, if you let them in.

It’s a terrifying thought, really. How can you let go of the town where you grew up? How can you leave all this behind?

You aren’t leaving anything behind. Your hometown is a piece of who you are, it shaped you and brought you to where you are today. Bring your hometown with you, hold it close on the nights when you feel unsure or lonely, which is all totally normal. Give your new home a chance. Meet new people, share your stories of your friends from home with your new friends, try new things, step outside your comfort zone.

And, above all else, call your mom. My second home lacks a huge piece of my heart, my wonderfully forgiving & understanding & loving mother. A simple phone call can be the biggest fix for home-sickness.


There’s a balance, from what I experienced, in finding how to handle your OG home & your second home. Once you’ve found it, though, it’s incredible. I can’t exactly give you step-by-step instructions on finding this balance. That’s entirely up to you, and sometimes it takes time.

{Personally, it took listening to “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac and “Travelin Soldier” or “Cowboy Take Me Away” by Dixie Chicks non-stop for a month or so. (I like to call these ‘The Kitchen Songs’ due to the overwhelming presence they had in our kitchen come dinner time while my brothers & I were growing up) (My mom likes to sing while she cooks) (And just to sing in general) }

In the end of it all, there’s nothing better than  having two places, both spectacularly beautiful in their own ways, filled with the best people in the world, always welcoming you home.


Here’s to second homes, here’s to my Maryland home, and here’s to all the homes to come.

Happy living,

Caroline

{If you’re now feeling an overwhelming urge to listen to Dixie Chicks, here ya go: Landslide}

 

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