Growing up, I think like most kids that grew up in a relatively small town, I wanted nothing more than to get the hell out of there.
It's not that I didn't like living in good old Fredericksburg because I do, now that I can appreciate it. But when I was in high school, I was ready to leave. To get as far away as I could with no return date insight. I was sick of doing the same thing every weekend, seeing the same people that I had known since elementary school, and hearing the same old he said she said about the same old people. All my life, I had lived in this town and I was DESPERATE for something new. New people, new memories, new things to do and see.
Oddly enough, when I was choosing my future college, I chose one that was only 45 minutes away. Me, the girl who was hell bent on getting out of there, was closer than any of my friends were. To make matters worse, I went home every weekend the first month at school. Why? Because I missed Fredericksburg. I missed waking up to my parents arguing about irrelevant shit, I missed going to work at Castiglia's every Friday at 5, I missed my sisters and my brother. But what I really missed was driving down a back road and knowing exactly where it leads. Knowing that if I kept going straight on Smith Station Road instead of going right, I would be at Jenna's house in 5 minutes. I missed the familiarity of home because college was new, and, quite frankly, because people in Fairfax can't drive for shit.
Now my sister is a junior in high school and she's looking at colleges that she's interested in. Most of them are out of state because she, like myself as a junior, is desperate to get out of Fredericksburg. She thinks I'm crazy for wanting to move back to our boring hometown when I'm done with school. But I think she'll realize like me that you can go as far away from here as you want but your heart still aches for the familiarity of it.
Nothing compares to the town you were raised in. It is home. It contains all the same old places that you always go; like Paul's on Saturday morning when the doughnuts are nice and fresh, or Carl's when you need that ice cream fix that only Carl's can solve. It's got your secrets, memories and most of all, the faces of the people you love -- like your family, and the few friends from high school that you can still tolerate.
I think the saying "Home is Where the Heart Is" rings true. As long as the people I love -- my heart essentially -- are there, then I'll always have a home in Fredericksburg. Because a home isn't always a place with a red door that you hang your jacket for the night. It's the people that are there with you. It's those people that give and create the sense of home. Because of them it's impossible to forget where you truly belong, and that's home.