Home

Today, I sit at the airport waiting to get on my umpteenth flight back to my hometown in Western New York. It is cold there (by my standards), especially for late May but I am so looking forward to seeing my family and friends. I have been going back “home” about twice a year, and am trying to wean down to once a year– something almost unimaginable. When I saw this secret posted on Post Secret, I had several mixed feelings. Home has been so many places for me since 2005 when I officially left the home I had known since about 1990 (Any questions, see a post from several months ago 😉 )… but where is my home now? What should I consider home to be?

 

Compliments of PostSecret; on back, "Things were easier when I knew where I belonged."

Compliments of PostSecret; on back, “Things were easier when I knew where I belonged.”

 

It’s not that “home” (New York, home) has stopped feeling like home, but maybe it’s that so many things have felt like home that it’s hard to recognize the comfort of “home” when it hits you. Have I moved so often, referred to so many places as home, become de-sensitized to the cozy, comforting feeling that I don’t know what “home” feels like anymore?

 

After my freshman year of college, I spent that summer at “home” (New York) and my friends came over almost every evening (literally, almost every evening) and we hung out in my mom’s basement and ate party mix and watched Legally Blonde the Musical: the Search for Elle Woods on MTV. After that summer, we all went our ways until December when the group was back together. I will never forget when my friend Jackie walked into the entry way through the garage, inhaled a deep breath through her nose and mouth, sighed and said: “ahhh. Amanda’s house.”

Oh yeah, I guess my house (like everywhere else) has its own smell. After that, I longed to be away from “home” long enough to know that smell and to have the opportunity to take it all in and to know the smell of something so cozy and familiar. About two years later, I walked into my mom’s house and if only for 15 seconds, I inhaled my own deep breath through my nose and mouth and I could smell it. It felt like jingling the bell from Santa’s sleigh in The Polar Express and still being able to hear it years later. It smelled like home.

 

But here we are in 2013. In plain terms, home has been Webster, Orlando, and Tampa. When I first moved to Tampa (for the second time), it was hard. Home was still Orlando, and home was in my bed in the apartment complex off of International drive. Home was the kittens and my ex who I had moved in with (maybe too soon, and maybe more on this later). Now I was in a single hotel room in Tampa.  Alone. I have prided myself on being comfortable with change and my adaptability… but am I? Is anyone? Especially since that uprooting, my idea of home has become incredibly foggy. I have grown roots in Tampa. Church family, friends family, coworkers, a new beau or two; still moving apartments, but such is life.

One of my coworkers grew up in St. Petersburg which is a stone’s throw from downtown Tampa. We had made plans to do something one weekend, and I knew she was also planning to visit home– her parents. In a text message exchange, I asked where she was at. “On my way home,” she replied. I asked for clarification– “To Tampa or St. Pete”?

 

“Tampa,” she said. “If I was going to St. Pete I would have said ‘to my Parents.””

 

Oh. Well I guess that makes sense. This small statement really hit home and forced me to have the difficult conversation with myself that I realized I had been avoiding. Home. I guess I should start referring to Tampa as “home” and Webster as…. hometown? Family? Visiting my parents’? What about later in life when Tampa is no longer home? I think I have loved so many places and let so many places into my heart that it’s difficult to be able to define home, and what home is supposed to feel like. Maybe I have exposed myself to so many places that are supposed to be/feel like home that I have become numb and have forgotten what it is like to just be in one place– one “home”– for an extended period of time without being uprooted and relocating myself and my belongings.

 

I’m not sure what the future holds or what my numerous future “home’s” will look like, but the tradeoff of seeing/visiting/living in new places will always outweigh whatever longing I have for (pretending I enjoy) staying in one place for too long.

 

 

What is “home” to you? Is there a place you live now or lived once that will always feel like home to you?

From City to Country

So, I’m not sure if it’s all of the Nicholas Sparks books-turned-movies I’ve been watching or if it’s because I’ve really been enjoying holing up on the weekends, but eventually I want to live in North Carolina on a chunk of land in a house that looks like this:

And I will probably adopt a southern accent and have horses and a whole bunch of dogs, and people won’t think I’m crazy because it will be ranch-like… except with a non-ranch home.

So, if we completely disregard the fact that I love warm weather all year round, I love the city, the closest I get to a southern accent is saying, “y’all,” and I’m practically terrified of horses… I think this is a pretty good dream!

Realistically though, after I get my MBA and spend several potential more years in the University system (which I LOVE), I would really like to go back and work at Disney for awhile, travel the world, and then retire on farmland and open a camp? or sanctuary? for therapy animals (horses, dogs, etc.) for senior citizens and children with disabilities. That’s the dream.

Things I Love Thursdays | Moving to New Places

I have a lot of difficulty staying in one place for too long. I have moved more times in my life within a short period of time than one person should. Since graduating from High School, here is the timeline of moves I have made:

 

August 2005 – Webster to residence hall space at SUNY Brockport

December 2005 – Moved down the hall because of roommate conflict.

May 2006 – Moved back to Webster at the end of the semester

February 2007 – Moved to Orlando, Florida; Disney College Program housing (HOLLA at Vista Way!)

May 2007 – Moved to new DCP program housing location

August 2007 – Moved to University of Tampa, Brevard Hall

January 2008  – Moved to Vaughn Center as a Resident Assistant

May 2008 – Stored belongings for summer, drove back to Webster.

August 2008 – Drove back to Tampa, FL, moved into ResCom residence hall as a Resident Assistant

January 2009 – Student Head Resident (building supervisor) steps down, I am promoted and move to the Head Resident space in ResCom residence hall

May 2009 – Move to Vaughn Center as Summer Head Resident

July 2009 – Due to unforeseen circumstances, move back to Webster.

December 2010 – Move to Orlando, FL

March 2011 – Move to new apartment in Orlando, FL

August 2011 – move to Tampa, FL for a new job (but keep some stuff in Orlando) into one bedroom.

October 2011 – TERRIBLE BREAKUP! Move the rest of stuff out of Orlando to Melbourne, then eventually Melbourne to Tampa (thank God for wonderful friends)

January 2012 – Move to two-room suite-style space (bigger!).

August 2012 – Move to new location within same building, because someone else is moving into this space…… SUNDAY.

 

 

So, here we are in August 2012, and I am moving. I might be moving again in a few months. Being someone who enjoys new places and whatnot, I’m ok with moving. I’ve just about become an expert, which is why I’m not terribly concerned that I need to be completely moved out of this space by Saturday evening. Unfortunately, I have managed to accumulate a lot of miscellaneous crap within a short amount of time. So instead of my apartment looking relatively barren, it looks like this:

Books. Shoes. Clothes. STUFF. I don’t need all of this stuff. I’m like a hoarder-in-training. I have made some progress and have a pile of things I’m going to donate before the move. Also, let me clarify: if this looks a little like a hotel room, it is. I supervise the overflow facility for the university I work at, which also happens to be a hotel. Honestly, not the worst living situation ever– pool in the building, housekeeping twice a week, fitness center, utilities included, etc. The plus side is, they’re in the process of building a room that has a kitchenette with a stove top (rather than only a large refrigerator and a microwave, coffee maker, toaster… which is the most, appliance-wise, I’ve had for the last year). The room I’m potentially moving in after is the “penthouse” suite that is also in the process of being built. This is mainly because I think it’s going to be fun to live like I’m a high roller, even if it’s only for a few months…. because when I am eventually in a live-out position, I will likely not live in anything nearly as accommodating as what I have now 🙂

I love where I’m living now (city-wise) but can feel myself wanting something new. I think I’m going to need to purge out my apartment before I do anything drastic. When I moved to Orlando, I received endless comments from my roommate Ryan (who is one of my closest friends) about how my car is so tiny and I had to bring all of my shoes. I don’t think there are that many, and I’m still not really sure why he is surprised that I have the number of shoes that I do. This is my car:

Sophie is adorable, but is only slightly more spacious than she appears. Though, she has been a trooper on the numerous trips we’ve taken back and forth from Florida to New York on the Amtrak Auto-Train. That is something else I love, and has been a lifesaver. Thank goodness for the snow birds who hop a ride back and forth from the north east!

 

Are you someone who relocates a lot? Tips on moving? Tips on being a minimalist? Please share!