At the time of writing this article, I am on the Northeast Regional Amtrak train, speeding back toward Williamsburg and the College of William & Mary. Having been home for almost a month, it feels like I’m leaving home for the first time all over again.
Being back home for so long was certainly a surreal experience. I felt as if so much had changed, while quite a lot had stayed the same. I met up with family I hadn’t seen since Thanksgiving break, and with friends, I had missed since summer vacation.
I had to get used to New York’s winter weather again, as I had been spoiled by Virginia’s relative warmth and humidity ever since leaving for college. For once, I had no work or assignments to complete, with the fall semester having ended, and I rejoiced in the sheer amount of free time I had.
I realize that I may have been doing quite a bit of reminiscing about the last couple of weeks, perhaps subconsciously. I wrote about my high school Chamber Singers in remembering holiday seasons past and coincidentally found myself watching them in their annual holiday concert.
It felt so strange to think about the fact that it was only a year ago that I was singing in it with them. Time, paradoxically, always seems to me as if it passes by quickly, but still cannot be disregarded in its length. It seems to go by slowly and quickly at the same time.
I came to feel this way again in meeting up again with friends. A decent number of my friends back home still attend high school, while the rest of them have gone off to college. Joining up with them again for lunches and get-togethers seemed just like old times, but felt different in its own sort of way.
I felt older and more mature, but otherwise, it was like stepping back in time. I met back up with my best friend from high school, who has studied abroad in London, I hadn’t seen since the summer. Sure, he had now dyed his brown hair to a bright blonde, but hanging out with him I felt as if he had never left.
Of course, seeing family again was a highlight of winter break. Staying at home for nearly a month, I felt as if I was a kid again. Holiday celebrations were fairly standard, with everyone meeting, having dinner together, and exchanging presents.
It was great to catch up with family again, to have an opportunity to relax and just be. I got to spend time with my sister and parents, watching movies together. When the ball in Times Square dropped for the coming of 2018, we hugged, kissed, and within a few minutes resumed watching Edgar Wright’s Hot Fuzz.
Returning to the College after a nostalgic, relaxing stay at home, I find myself excited for the spring semester to come. I greet it with open arms, with the knowledge that no matter what comes my way, I’ll always have a loving home to return to. I'm reminded of a song lyric written by the singers Leanne and Nara when I think of home: "I'll always love you, to New York and back."