There and Back Again

I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s library presentation and are making progress on your papers.

For this week’s supplementary blog post, I want to ask the inverse of the question I asked last time, and invite you to reflect on the process of homecoming.  Fall break is around the corner, and most of you will be going home for the first time since leaving for college.  What do you look forward the most?  How do you think you have changed as a result of just two months at Notre Dame?  Have you gained a new perception of how “home” fits into “the world” now that the portion of it that you know has gotten a little larger?

7 responses to “There and Back Again

  1. Homecoming usually is a cause of celebration and reuniting of two separate parts. Depending on how one defines “home,” the definition of homecoming also varies. For me, home is where friends and family are. However, I’m in an interesting situation where I moved 2 weeks prior to attending Notre Dame, from Colorado to Idaho. During the two weeks before moving in here, I mostly helped my family unpack or packed for college; there was no time to make friends, nor were there many kids in my neighborhood of my age.

    When I go home, I wish I could see my friends that I’ve known since middle school, who are still in Colorado, but I also look forward to seeing my family and making new friends in Boise.

  2. Funny that homecoming is the subject of this blog post, I am actually writing this post from home as we speak because I had to come back for the weekend. Being here after over a month of being at school, it didn’t hit me how much I missed being at my real home and around my family until I actually got here. I realized that of course you miss your house, your bedroom, maybe even your favorite restaurant…but it is not so much about the physical properties. The reason you love home is more than just familiarity with your surroundings; it is how the people that you love are directly connected to the place in which you live. Why do you miss physically being at your house? Sure, you may miss sleeping in your own cozy bed rather than on a creaky bunk bed, but your best memories of times with your family and friends are at home. The people that you care most about are inseparable from your perception of home. It is a physical place, but it’s also more than that. There’s no denying that home really is “where the heart is.”

  3. Being away from home has been less strange and disconcerting for me than I originally expected. Prior to coming to Notre Dame, I had lived in four different houses in three states. When I was younger, my Dad was frequently away on business, and I currently live ten hours away from most of my extended family. When people ask me one of those inevitable freshman questions—“Where are you from?”—I never really know how to respond.
    Over the past two months, I really haven’t experienced much homesickness. Change is familiar to me, and I’ve enjoyed the independence of college. I’ve realized that I strangely don’t “miss” Cincinnati, or even my own bed. Notre Dame has become Home #5 for me, and I love it here. I’ve come to realize that, in the end, it really doesn’t matter where you eat your meals (though Graeter’s ice cream is a million times better than Fro-Yo…Google it!), or where you park your car at the end of the day. What matters are the constants you choose to carry with you on the journey—the people you can’t help but boomerang back to, no matter where you are at the moment. Whether I’m at home or away, list 46556 or 45011 as my ZIP code, five or eighteen years old, my parents and siblings have always defined where my home lies, and been the ones I always come back to. I realize now that I can make a home anywhere, as long as I can return to them, too.
    And that’s why I can’t wait to go back to the ‘Nati next week.

  4. The other day, I referred to my dorm as “home” and it threw me off for a second. I realized this summer I was sad to leave home for school; but now school has become home and I am sad to leave home for home. I guess I should have expected something like this, but I was still thrown. As far as returning to California, I am looking forward to seeing my family and being in such a familiar place again. Notre Dame has definitely become my new “home,” though.

  5. As I have been talking more and more with friends this past week who live in Sacramento, California I have become increasingly excited to board that plane Saturday morning. Every time I hang up the phone I think about the memories, the good times, the trouble we got in and I miss it. I live an extreme and active life back home and it is something I have certainly been missing while I have been here. I miss going for a drive at 2AM just because I want to feel the cold dry air hit my face, I miss the “oh shit” feeling I get every time I ride the motorcycle, and I miss the spatial freedom I have. When I got here everyone told me I would love the “freedom” the “freedom of college” but I must admit I have found college confining. Who knows, maybe it is just an adjustment I need to make. While I miss the objects of my home and my family, I have made some amazing friends in the short time I have been here at Notre Dame. This weekend one of my friends here went home for the weekend and I remember thinking yesterday that I miss him. I have found the friends I make here to be different than the friends I make at home. Back home most of my friends are adrenaline pumping action sports junkies and I love them for that. Here though, because I don’t have any of the objects I have back home, I have made different friends who I think have given me more perspective on life. This thought gives me a greater sense of perspective about where I fit into the world. Looking back at all the places I have been I have found certain comfort in different places and have come to love them and think of them as home for different reasons. For Sacramento I know it is the things I can do there and my family. At Notre Dame (so far) it has been the friends I have made. Yet at the same time when I step on an Air Malta flight to visit my grandmother and I hear the safety instructions in Maltese I feel at home, just as when I had the privilege to go to a papal mass last Christmas I felt at home among the tens of thousands of other Catholics who had migrated to the Vatican to celebrate Christianity – the faith that makes me feel at home. So what perspective/significance does this reflection give me? Uncertainty – from what I said I can find different elements of home in different places, which I guess is a good thing because I never feel awkward or out of place in new surroundings, but at the same time it makes me feel that I live a fragmented life – A life in which I will never truly be at home because my “home” is scattered across the world.
    (I understand this response is longer that the suggested 150 words. I missed my blog response last week, but I also found this to be the most thought provoking blog post of the semester simply because it has allowed me to get a better understanding of where I stand in the world)

  6. I actually went home about a month ago and it was awesome. At the beginning of the school year I was a little home sick and every time I would talk to my friends from home all the great memories I had would come back and I would really miss high school. Since then I have gotten over my home sickness and found my place here at Notre Dame. It was such a great feeling to go home and when people asked so how’s college being able to respond “I love it.” I went to my high school’s football game the Friday night I was home, and seeing all the familiar faces of parents, teachers, and underclassmen I knew was cool. I felt so much more like an adult it was really weird. Parents and teachers talked to me as if I was on their level almost. They probably viewed it as I’ve gone away to college, I’m living on my own, I’m growing up. It was a very cool experience, and I cannot wait to go back this Saturday.

  7. Home for me has always been a complicated notion. As an army brat I’ve lived in 9 different homes. After never staying anywhere more than 2 years, my family moved to Virginia when I was in 5th grade, where we stayed for 4. Then, right before high school I moved to Washington state, where I lived for another 4. My dad retired from the army, we settled, and bought what my mom likes to call “our forever home.”But still all throughout high school when asked, I would say that I was from Virginia. Having spent the longest amount of time in my life there, it was the closest I’d ever come to home. But then I moved to Notre Dame, and when asked the question, “Where are you from?” (about 20 times a day) I could no longer say Virginia. The answer is now Washington. It seems I’ve now become a Washingtonian. But it took until I left to truly become one. Is it the same case here at Notre Dame? My friends have been talking this past week about how excited they are to go home and miss it here, miss being at our “home under the dome.” We are all still pretty much college newbies at this point, regardless of how acclimated some of us may feel. After going “home” and then returning here, will we be “home” again? Can you only be from somewhere once you’ve left it?

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