Going home when you're in college is always great. You get to see your family, old friends and your pets. You pack your stuff from college and you definitely overpack because you forget that you already have clothes at home. Obviously, you must take your favorite t-shirts back, but you can leave a lot of stuff because you'll be back at college in a few weeks.
It wasn't until I was packing to go home for Thanksgiving this year did I realize something. I always keep my main toothbrush at home and then I have a different one I travel with. I took my traveling toothbrush for this trip. I was only staying for a few days, but I would always leave my main toothbrush at home. When I got home, everything was reversed. I didn't unpack my suitcase, I had my travel toothbrush and I took toiletries from college back with me because I knew they wouldn't be at my house anymore because I hadn't lived there in months.
I felt like a guest in my own home.
It was a very bizarre feeling. I once said that I was excited to go back home when I was referring to college. I had to ask my sister where stuff in the house was. Everything was different.
I have called that place home for many many years and for the first time ever, I didn't feel at home. It turns out I wasn't the only one either. My best friends told me they felt like guests in their own home too. We all just felt out of place. Many things were the same and many were different. I drove down roads that I used to drive down every day for years. I hadn't driven down these roads in months and I felt like I had been gone for years. Home just didn't feel like home anymore.
When I am at college, I don't always feel like I am home either. Home is supposed to be where your family is. Parts of me felt homeless. Then I realized that home wasn't a house. It's not the town you grew up in or the high school you went to. Home is within people. Family and friends are home. They are little pieces of home. My family could move across the country but wherever they are is home. Family is home, not an empty house that just holds memories.
You meet people in college who change your life. Friends who will be lifelong. So they are like home too. For me, I have a home in many places and in many people. I think people can be home too.