When Home Doesn't Feel Like Home Anymore

When Home Doesn't Feel Like Home Anymore

I felt like a guest in my own home.

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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.

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11 Things I Want My Parents To Know When I Come Home From College

An open letter to Mom and Dad, from a college student that isn’t a kid anymore.
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Aight, listen.

Put on your reading glasses and blow that wisp of graying hair off your face (yes, Mom, I see it, you’re not fooling anybody), because I’ve got some things to say.

I just completed three months worth of college. C-O-L-L-E-G-E. For roughly 90 days I fed myself, I somewhat successfully did my own laundry, I made my own life-or-death decisions when it came to college parties, and I even managed to fit in schoolwork — most of the time.

The point is, I might not have become a fully fledged, mature adult, but three months of newfound independence is like finding out that Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny aren’t real all at the same time — you do a lot of growing up, fast.

So, almost-adult to adult, here are 11 things that I want you to know when I come home for the holidays:

1. First and foremost, I get it.

I’m not in college anymore, there are going to be rules again, you pay all my bills — right. I understand. Please, no long speeches. No constant reminding. I’ve been making predictions and inferences since 2nd grade, so believe me, I’m pretty sure I’ve got the gist of what’s going on in this story.

2. I may or may not have transformed into a creature of the night.

Yeah, no, I’d probably go ahead and define myself as nocturnal. In college, everything starts at night, like parties, house meetings, the will to do homework — it’s completely different. So if you find me doing the dishes at 3:00 a.m., it’s not because I was feeling generous, it’s because Netflix got boring and I had nothing better to do.

3. Curfew or nah? Nah.

Now that we got the whole nocturnal thing out of the way, let’s get something straight. I can’t tell you how many times I stayed up with friends until the wee hours of the morning, how many times parties kept me out of the dorm for the entire night, or how many times I went on late night runs to get food. I know that the house is not a hotel, but you have to understand that the night is primetime to hang out with friends or take that random McDonald’s run. So please, loosen the reigns a little. I’ll be quiet, I promise — I’ve got three months of tiptoeing around a sleeping roommate under my belt.

4. I love you, but I love sleep more.

You guys are great, but my b(a)ed and I need some alone time. Keep the door closed.

5. I’m ok! That was just me screaming in relief at the feeling of not having to wear shower sandals anymore.

6. Be a bro and spot me? I’m poor.

I know, I know, I said I wasn’t going to be that college kid. But it’s the holiday season, and I know you guys have missed me, soooo how’s 20 bucks sound?

7. A gift card to Starbucks would make for a great Christmas present.

Put yourself in my shoes. I’m a slightly impoverished neo-adult with a mild-to-moderate coffee addiction, and I sleep all day. Plus, Starbucks has those new red cups — I’m telling you, coffee tastes great with a hint of controversy.

8. Chores, shopping for groceries, driving people around — I got this.

Let me take some extra responsibility. After three months on my own, I want to show you that I can handle it, that I can pass for being a competent adult. So don’t let me slack off and mill about, challenge me to help the family out as an adult instead of a dependent kid. I’ll make you proud, I promise.

9. If I want to go to that concert or party, I’m going to go.

Let’s be real here. In college, if I wanted to go skydiving or bar hopping or sleep over in a girl’s dorm room, I could I have done it, no questions asked, and you guys would have been none the wiser. So if I want to do something fun, I’m truly open to your thoughts and opinions, because your advice is what guides me every time I go out. But I’m not a dumb teenager anymore, so trust me and let me do my own thing, ok?

10. You guys are awesome, but so are the friends I haven’t seen in a long time.

Yes, I know, it always seems like I care way too much about hanging out with friends. But three months is a lot to catch up on, and I’ve missed them like crazy.

11. But no matter what, I’ve missed you so much, and I’m glad to be home.

Even if I’m stubborn, too argumentative, or seem eager to go back to college, you have to realize how good it feels to be home again. There have been so many times in the past three months that I’ve felt unbearably weak and vulnerable and wanted nothing more to call you guys and ask you for your amazing advice, but didn’t do it because I wanted you to think that I was ok. You are my greatest teachers, and I can never thank you enough for all you do for me. I love you.

Cover Image Credit: _elemenoh_ / Flickr

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I've Been Skeptical About The Holidays For A Couple Years, But I'm Ready For Them This Year

Finally decided to stop calling the Grinch my animal spirit.

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The holidays have finally reached us, and I think I speak for many of us when I say that we are excited to be able to breathe from school and spend time with our loved ones -- and to eat food, tons of it.

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But for some others, the holidays are a time that reminisces bad moment in their lives. They become a time of sadness and dark pasts. Loved ones have different faces, and homes, where good wishes are shared, have different walls painted a different color.

About four years ago, I left my country and moved to the US -- new traditions and adventures. The holidays weren't easy for my first year. I achingly missed my parents and family from Honduras. The holidays here didn't seem as exciting without all the people I had spent them countless times before.

In Honduras, on Christmas Eve we would always go visit my grandmother from my dad's side for lunch. In the afternoon, I would have dinner with my parents and brother, and then we'd go to church. After that, we would always go to my mom's family to receive midnight and have a sort of party. That was something that I always looked forward to.

The holidays here weren't as adventurous as they were over there. I would stay all day home and wait till food was served and just spend it with my family until we all decided it was time to go to sleep. They seemed pretty dull for the first two years. But now, my boring, asocial ass is fascinated with the simpleness of the holidays.

Sure, here people take the holidays more seriously than we did in Honduras, but I never assimilated. I began seeing the holidays as another day, except that deliciously exquisite food was going to be served that day. It was not like my mom's food nor like my grandmother's. Everything was different, and this difference weighed heavily on me.

Fast-forward to the present day, and I'm still kind of skeptical about the holidays. I don't get the spirit anymore, and till today, it still hasn't hit me. The only thing that I can think of is that the year is soon going to be over.

The one thing I am excited for is being able to celebrate the holidays with the new family I've been slowly building. My partner is accepted and loved by my relatives, and they invited him over to spend Christmas with us. One of my new best friends was also invited. Being able to spend this time with them kinda shines a glimmer on the idea that I have of the holidays.

This new fresh addition to my life have given me many blissful pleasures this 2018, and I know that with them, I'll probably begin to cherish the holidays a little bit more.

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