I hate packing, as I said about a million times today. And yes, it’s true that I loathe sorting through sweaters and deciding which jeans to take and DON’T get me started on trying to figure out how to carry all of my books. (I used two messenger bags and two backpacks and I’m still leaving behind so many favorites!) However, while packing is probably one of my least favorite things ever, it has two plus sides:
- It is a valid excuse to binge watch Netflix. I must have rewatched at least twenty episodes of The Office today.
- It provides a rare opportunity for reflection.
The second plus is much more intriguing than the first. Not only does packing make me evaluate what I really need, it causes me to reflect upon myself. Admittedly, though Michael Scott & Co. were getting up to shenanigans in the background, I was not paying them much attention. Rather, I was looking through my books, old journals, stuffed animals, decorations, etc. I was learning the meaning – no- the feeling of the word “bittersweet.”
I may be twenty years old, but I still had my dad come help me pick out a couple stuffed animals to come back to college with me. And, looking through them all, I remembered their names and the games I had played with them growing up.
Then I stumbled upon binders full of scribbled maps of the imaginary country I had made up for myself and my brother when we were children. All of our adventures seemed so real at the time and now, looking through the remnants of our creativity, it still seems incredibly real to me.
My journals of course are full of the major events in my life, but, more than that, show my personal evolution. My handwriting matured, the ink colors changed, and the topics I chose to write about shifted. Friends came in and out of my life and a few stuck around. I can look back on moments of fear and laugh.
I scanned over my walls and bookshelves next. I rested my eyes upon postcards from family vacations, paintings I used to be proud of, the glow-in-the-dark stars that still are stuck to my closet ceiling, the typewriter picture above my actual typewriter. And my bookshelves, two floor-t0-ceiling models that are my pride and joy…covered in books of all shapes and sizes, in front of which are tiny crystal pianos, a tiara, teacups, and a magic wand.
And then, as I continued packing, I realized I could hear my mom downstairs, making dinner, and my dad watching sports in the other room. My brother’s room was oddly silent since he went to camp for the weekend. My dog would bark periodically and my mom then shout at her to either “get off the table” or “drop it!”
Overall, I was struck by an overwhelming sense of home.
The memories made, the souvenirs collected, the family members who were always there, all of the people and things that have made me who I am… Surely this was home!
But then, not five minutes later, I remembered with a thrill of excitement that tomorrow I am driving back to college in California and was shocked to realize that my cozy dorm and roommate, my music friends, a certain person whose smile I miss greatly, my favorite practice rooms, my little church with its stained-glass windows and adorable choir… All of these make Biola as much home as my house in Arizona.
It’s confusing, realizing that home can be divided between two places, and I have written my share of angsty poetry because of it. But it is comforting to think that one can both leave home and go home in the same one-way trip. As I said at the beginning of this ramble, it is a bittersweet experience; though the departure from either place is never easy, the homesickness for one is softened by the anticipation of arrival at the other, and both places are all the more dear for this.
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