The first person to greet me after my long flight home was my dog (yes, my dog is a person in my family). Sinking my face into her newly conditioned fur and feeling wet, slobbery kisses on my cheek lifted a weight off my shoulders for the first time since August. Even if it was for a short time, I was home.

My dog, Sadie, is the simplest and sweetest part of home. Excitement filled her face the second I got in the car and it was like I had never left. This feeling of never leaving followed me this past week, from flying down the same freeway I took after school, to getting coffee with my friend of 15 years. Familiarity was not a bore like it had been when I was permanently home, but a blessing.

I know this is not a unique feeling to have. It was strange to realize I wasn't looking forward to coming home more than I was. While I had missed home, I had wondered how my evolution at school was going to affect the way I related to Bellevue, the people, and places I used to know. I was surprised to discover that instead of my changing being a difficult thing to overcome, It ended up being a tool I could use to put things into perspective. Bellevue is my home, but Madison is where I need to be right now.

On Thanksgiving day, I was driving with my mom when she asked me a particularly strange question. She turned to me and asked me if I would miss Bellevue if my family decided to leave. Reflecting on my answer, I was surprised to tell her that I would. When my mom asked me why, I told her that Bellevue was where I was born and raised, virtually my whole life. Even though I resented it when I was living there, all that was needed to shift my viewpoint was exposure. Coming to the University of Wisconsin, and realizing how lucky I was to grow up with everything I needed was definitely something that made me think long and hard about why I was in such a hurry to be rid of my home. While it was necessary I leave, I miss it very much every day. No matter how much you may need change, your roots are your roots for a reason, they ground you, anchoring you to a place you can call your own.