When students like me head home for break, they’ll most likely enjoy the change in pace. It’s a reunion with family and pets, as students embrace a temporary reprieve from the school/business schedule they’re used to.
For me, it’s a chance to contemplate my place in life, where I’m heading and seeing my past. In the spirit of the upcoming spring break, I’m revisiting some nostalgic places in my mind and trying to answer the question: where is home for me?
My childhood (and current) house downstate has always been home for me. After all, it’s where I grew up and learned about the world in a different perspective. It’s where I feel safe, in the comfort of my family and our pets. In recent years, I’ve become reserved at home due to the overwhelming chaos at times. I can stay upstairs for a little bit and join in my siblings’ and mom’s craziness, but then I’ll want to rest downstairs with my cat and put my mind in auto pilot.
A city I’d travel to a lot was Grand Rapids. For me, it was where I went to buy large Lego sets for birthdays and to celebrate at restaurants like Chuck E. Cheese or Steak ‘n Shake. There was also the downtown area, which felt comforting to walk through amongst the towering skyscrapers. Its small shops and public squares gave a welcoming presence as I walked to the museums. It represented a getaway from the “mundane” farmland I was used to. For the longest time, I was convinced I would rent out an apartment and live downtown. It felt natural, because it was an integrated part of my childhood associated with celebration, education, and life.
Recently, I’ve considered Houghton/Hancock as a home for me. This includes the MTU campus to the east, where I’m a proud student. It’s where I’m learning more about the world and its complexities. I’ve worked on finding my identity here, like other college students have. The Keweenaw is a place of growth amidst the ice and snow. It certainly helps that there’s also beautiful sunsets here, as I’ve talked about last week.
Winding through my mind has led me to an answer: home is where I’m the most comfortable in life. It’s not stagnant like how I originally thought. All three of the examples I’ve provided reflect past/present identities I associated with. My house and hometown are the rural, country lifestyles I’m accustomed to. Grand Rapids is a desire to explore and learn about people, set within an urban, confined area. The Keweenaw and Houghton/Hancock are where I experience a rugged, worn society that combines heartiness with exploration. All three offer their own comforts that can satisfy me, yet the Keweenaw provides the strongest feeling of home currently. With this spring break, I wish everyone who’s traveling to their homes a safe trip.