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Re-defining ‘Home’

Source: Pink Sherbet Photography on Flickr

Over the last few months, the fact that I don’t have a ‘childhood home’ to go back to has been hitting me hard.

When Andrew & I began dating, and I went to his parents’ house for the first time, I stepped into the time-warp that was his bedroom.  He had grown up in that house, and could tell me stories from when he was little.  Maybe it’s because I live 3000 miles away from the apartment where I grew up but it made me even more homesick.

Over the last 2 years, I’ve been doing my best to make D.C. feel more like home than it has.

Funny thing about living in an area for 15 years is that there are days the memories around every corner begin to overwhelm you and make you want to run. The next thing you know, you’re walking past a building that used to make your heart stop without even acknowledging it. You feel a familiar twinge subconsciously but not enough to make you stop and re-live any memories.

Because you’re only passing it on your way to your new apartment where your fiance is waiting for you.

I’ve lived in the area long enough to celebrate my birthday at the same restaurant 4 years in a row because I was a lunch regular; long enough to memorize the street cleaning schedule and know when it changed; long enough to spend 6 years commuting from VA every day; long enough to pinpoint my comfort zones; long enough to know where to go for avoiding familiar faces; long enough to call it home.

There are memories that hit me every time I stepped foot outside my door.

Memories that would catch me off-guard if I wasn’t paying attention.

Memories that drowned me in tears.

Memories that made me avoid certain parts of town.

These days?

Those memories have been pushed to the past where they belong, by the new memories I’ve made by moving forward.

I learned that the best way to move on isn’t to run away from the memories. They’ll still be there waiting for you when you get back.  The best way to move on is to continue living and making new memories.

Now when I run into familiar faces, they can tell, without even speaking a word, that I’m not that same girl.

They may see me in a familiar place from a dark period in my life but know that I am just passing by.

I may not have a physical home that holds my life between its walls. When I have a child, I won’t be able to take them to the house I grew up in – but I’m learning to be OK with that.

Home is where the heart is, and a piece of my heart will always be in D.C.

*This is my 500th post on this website. Thanks to all of you who have been reading, whether it’s been a day or 2 years. Much love to you all.*

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • magnolia April 19, 2011, 9:01 pm

    i know what you mean about the lack of a “home” to go to – my dad moved out of my hometown (to come here, actually) 8 years ago this summer. that helped make DC more “home” than not, but when i think of “home,” i still think of the gulf coast.

    i think it’s totally possible to have multiple “homes” if you’re well-traveled. i have a piece in my hometown, a piece in louisiana, a piece here… all these places give me that warm, comfortable “i am from here” feeling.

    congrats on 500 posts! 🙂

    • Berrak April 20, 2011, 4:23 pm

      Yeah, I definitely have a ‘second home’ in different places (Mostly at friends’ houses) but it’s still weird to feel like I don’t really have an anchor.

      Thank you!

  • Lacochran812 April 19, 2011, 9:19 pm

    I find it really weird going “home” to places that were once home but are no longer home. It’s strange when someone else lives there and has cut down the tree you used to play under, etc. So strange.

    Now, I just keep my focus forward. 🙂

    • Berrak April 20, 2011, 4:22 pm

      Yeah, it’s definitely strange because other people have made memories on top of yours.

  • eemusings April 19, 2011, 9:58 pm

    I’ve always lived in the same city and I think it will be “home” for me. But in terms of housess? I’ve moved so often, I can make any new place feel like home.

  • WashingTina April 20, 2011, 1:57 pm

    Congrats on 500!

    I no longer have a childhood home either…my parents moved about 6 years ago. Sure, we’re still in the same area, but I still dream (very vivid dreams) of my childhood home. My husband is in the same position, too…only he’s thousands of miles from his childhood home. But we have our families and each other, and you’re right…that makes a home. 🙂

    • Berrak April 20, 2011, 4:21 pm

      Thanks!

      Yeah, I can relate to WH. I’ve driven past the apartment (and my aunt still lives there) where I grew up…Buildings around it have changed significantly but it;s still standing there, like a page out of history. I just wish I could go into the apartment.

  • Liebchen April 20, 2011, 2:22 pm

    My parents still live in the house I grew up in, and I still have a lot of childhood things in my old bedroom. However, my mom has also turned it into her office/library, so it’s not *quite* the same.

    That said, I know both my brother and I would be incredibly disappointed if our parents decided to move. It’s quite possible that we’re too attached.

    (Congrats on 500!)

  • spleeness April 20, 2011, 4:47 pm

    I have moved so much (20 times?) that I don’t have a sense of home either. I don’t dream of one set place but I do have memories tied to areas, like you.

    I’ve been reading even though not commenting as much — I just wanted to say I still love everything you write and enjoy your blog immensely. There’s always something relevant in there for what I’m experiencing at the moment. I don’t know how you always hit it on the head but you do. And this post came today right as I am preparing for another move in 2 weeks! xoxo thank you. 🙂

    • Berrak April 20, 2011, 5:45 pm

      I’ve been WONDERING where you are! I’ve even tweeted about missing you.

      Let’s get together soon, yeah? xoxo

      Where are you moving?

  • Berrak April 20, 2011, 4:53 pm

    I’ve been WONDERING where you are! I’ve even tweeted about missing you.

    Let’s get together soon, yeah? xoxo

    Where are you moving?

  • Lustyreader April 20, 2011, 5:10 pm

    congrats on your 500th post!

    we’re in complete harmony on several points – one i am OBSESSED with DC. i want to tell people i am “from here” i love the city so so much. also…i dont have a childhood home either! i moved 9 times between nursery school and high school, across states, continents, and oceans. my parents always rented since we were never in one place more than 2 years so i have no where to go back to. i dont say “no where to go home to” because home has always been *people* to me, not a place. i know its different for everybody, but when i went away to college my mom gave me a framed painting that said “home is where your mom is.” cheesy? yes. leaving out other important people in my life? yes! true for lots of people? no. buuuutttt, it will always be true for me.

    • Berrak April 20, 2011, 5:46 pm

      Thank you!

      I was told I can now say I’m from D.C. because of how long I’ve been living here, haha. I agree that home is people, but I’m also very sentimental. I’m the kind of person that’d want to take my child to where I grew up and have them experience it as well.

  • Miss Tricky April 20, 2011, 5:59 pm

    It’s the memories that make it home. Congrats to you!

  • Suburban Sweetheart April 20, 2011, 7:25 pm

    I feel fortunate to have a place to call home – I grew up in the house my mom still lives in. Same city, same place, same things, same people. But sometimes? It’s frustrating, too. I go home & see all the same damn people who have always been there, people who never left, people who are stuck there, people who begrudge or envy me for leaving. I love home, but the small-town drama? No, thanks.

    And I think DC definitely counts for you. You’re the DC Princess, after all. 😉

  • Suburban Sweetheart April 20, 2011, 7:25 pm

    I feel fortunate to have a place to call home – I grew up in the house my mom still lives in. Same city, same place, same things, same people. But sometimes? It’s frustrating, too. I go home & see all the same damn people who have always been there, people who never left, people who are stuck there, people who begrudge or envy me for leaving. I love home, but the small-town drama? No, thanks.

    And I think DC definitely counts for you. You’re the DC Princess, after all. 😉

    • Berrak April 20, 2011, 7:32 pm

      Right? I gotta live up to the name 😉

      I can kind of relate to the small-town drama when it comes to the city where I went to high school

  • Emily Jane April 20, 2011, 8:30 pm

    Home is such an interesting concept. I’ve been out of England now for ALMOST half my life, but I still feel like it’s home. Great post – and I definitely think DC is yours 🙂

    Happy 500 too!

    • Berrak April 20, 2011, 8:34 pm

      Turkey will definitely ALWAYS be home…but I’ve been leaving pieces of my heart in different places that I can also call home.

      🙂

      Thank you!

  • Storm. Katrina Storm. April 21, 2011, 5:06 am

    Cities become a part of *us*. D.C. is always with me, whereever I am.

    Happy 500-versary!

    • Berrak April 21, 2011, 1:33 pm

      Ditto and thank you!

  • Michelle April 26, 2011, 4:15 pm

    wow! 500 😀 and what a post to be the big one <3

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