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Heart is where the Home is

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I started thinking of my title addage today as I was going over what things I needed to remember to bring to Colorado Springs this weekend. Though I'm only a short, hour and a half drive from my hometown, Colorado Springs, I haven't been home since the beginning of August- I'm rounding nearly three months. The last time I was so far from home was when I studied abroad, and even that was only four months long. Why haven't I been home recently? Well, it's true that I've been swamped with school, work, and my internship. It's also true that I've really loved spending time with my friends and every weekend this semester has been too much fun with them. Lastly, with my littlest sibling at her first year of college in Montana, the appeal of going home to hang out with her has disappeared. But, if I'm really being honest with myselft, it's because Colorado Springs is no longer my home. Boulder is.

This weird thing happened this summer. It was an abrupt transition in defining "home" for me. My neighborhood that I grew up in, Mountain Shadows, burned to ashes. A rogue wildfire, spurred by the perfect set of circumstances (extreme temperatures and raging wind), raged across the bluffs backing my neighborhood and tore down the hills, destroying over 300 structures in its path.

While my house, fortunately, remained standing, so many friends houses were charred to a mere foundation. The place I grew up- where I rode my bike as a kid, where I T.P.ed rivals houses in middle school, where my homecoming and prom pictures were taken- was gone. I went back to the Springs twice after the fire and the sight, quite frankly, depressed me. I don't know how my parents managed living among the rubble for the past few months; I could barely stand to look at it for a few hours. Since my last visit to Colorado Springs, I have quite purposfully stayed home.

They say this transition happens to everyone- your links to your hometown slowly fade away while you forge new connections to the new town you're living in. Before the fire, I noticed and acknowledged my inevitable "drift" from the Springs. But on June 26th, I felt like any remaining emotional ties I had to that place were severed.

Now, of course, this isn't to say that my parents and family aren't an important enough reason for me to go to the Springs. In fact, it was at my mom's request that I decided to come visit this weekend. But the place that I loved is only manifested in my memories- it is no longer physically there. But, in Boulder, certain years of my life are plastered with backgrounds of places I have come to adore- CU's campus, my apartment, my best friends' house, Pearl street. For me, one home has eclipsed another.

On the brink of graduation, I feel as though I'm only scratching the surface of this philosophical idea of "home," especially when I will likely be moving from Boulder to another town if a job should lead me there. Will I be able to make that place my home? Or is my heart always going to be in Boulder? Or will my heart be in the fantasy version of Colorado Springs? It's a mystery I'm bitter sweetly excited to unravel.

International Affairs, Anthropology • Colorado Springs, Colorado


Such a great post! I haven't been home since August either and I totally know all the feelings you're feeling about home!


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