My family is moving. People keep asking how I feel about that. I guess for me it never really felt like a big deal. For awhile I thought maybe that was simply because I'm out of the house now, and so I guess I don't really live in Florida anymore, but now I don't think that's it at all.
I guess I'm writing this because moving has been on my mind a lot lately. I recently decided that, yes, it is a big deal. Florida is my home. I can honestly say that I've spent some of the best years of my life there. I've written pages and pages on how moving to Jacksonville saved my life, on how I've fallen in love with the poetic beauty of trees, the water, the long roads to nowhere. I love the little thunderstorms that bring relief on a hot summer afternoon. I love the laid-back nature of the people. I love the ocean. I even love the humidity. I love all the little things that make Florida, Florida.
At the same time though, it's not so hard to leave. It's not that I'm calloused and don't understand the meaning of home. Trust me, I do.
When you meet someone new in Provo (paticularly at the beginning of a new semester), your first conversation usually includes the following topics: Your name, your major, what you want to be when you grow up, and of course, where you're from. That last one always gives me trouble. Usually I just say Florida, but then I end up feeling like an idiot when the person tells me they're from California or somewhere else I've lived and I say, "Oh, me too!" Maybe I should just learn to bite my tongue, but sometimes I can't help it -- those places are my home too.
Growing up I felt like a gypsy, and coming out here I felt like some kind of West-coast/Southern Belle hybrid. (I guess that's genetics as well as my life experience.) I was always jealous of people that grew up in the same town all their life. I felt like I never had, and couldn't ever have that sense of home. This year helped me realize I was wrong in that assumption; I feel that when I go back to Florida, when we go see our family in North Carolina, when I went back to California this last Thanksgiving. It's not just that I've lived in those places (I definitely don't feel that way about Texas), but more that people I love live in all those places. Maybe that's why even though I hate Utah, it feels like coming home when I walk into my apartment.
I probably could have saved myself a lot of typing and just summed all this up with that chazzy little statement that's emboroidered, framed, and hung on just about everyone's living room wall, Home is where the heart is. I guess I finally get that.
Home is not where we live, but where we are understood.