Where the heart is.

While they say a home is not the walls and beams that hold it up, there is something to be said for the familiarity of it all. The remaining bits of sticky tack on plastered walls where posters of teen heartthrobs once hung, the paint on the carpet from an art project gone awry—these are the catalysts for memories evoked.

My mom moved away from the home I grew up in while I was at school. She left for San Antonio, only to return to Sugar Land the following year. But my bedroom is no more, the posters and stuffed animals long gone or boxed away, who knows where. Home is where the heart is, they say. But I didn’t feel this way when I moved back in June, into a home without a shared history, where I could still count the cumulative weeks spent.

Instead, home was the block on which I ran wildly to catch shuttles in the blistering cold. Where I made more almost-midnight runs to Taco Bell than I care to count. Where I first discovered what snow tastes like. Where I walked down the block to [Panera/Cosi/Unicorn] to do homework, but really did everything but. Where I caught a whiff of Indian food every time I stepped into the stairwell, courtesy of Bombay Indian Grill next door. Where the buzzer startled me almost every time. Where all the crazy shit I did those nights, those were the best memories.

Sometime over the course of the past five months, I was having the conversation I’ve had more than any other conversation in the past five months: the What Are You Doing With Your Life conversation. And I was giving the same well-rehearsed spiel. But this time, he asked me if I’ve learned to appreciate it more, being at home. After all, you want what you can’t have, and I hadn’t had a lot of time at home in the recent past.

Preparing to answer, I issued a disclaimer—I didn’t want would follow to be misinterpreted. But no, I couldn’t say that I was particularly enjoying the “time off,” or that I’d discovered a newfound appreciation for home.

For lots of reasons. I couldn’t bask in the comfort of knowing the expiration date this time around. And while I love spending time with my mom and noting all her quirks, I couldn’t (still can’t) ignore the silent monologue, the one that made me feel anxious and restless and ready. Home had always been an interlude, a hiatus between this and that. I wasn’t ready for that to change…

I’m still not. But as my first Thanksgiving at home in four years approaches, I’ve realized that home is fungible. And I’ve come to appreciate this one, to embrace this relenting time, and the days during which my most laborious activity involves putting milk in my cereal and pizza rolls (delicious) in the oven.

Home is about more than a zip code. It’s where we regroup and replenish, discover and rediscover. And I’ve learned that home can reinvent itself, as we unearth gems on previously unknown corners down previously untraveled streets. Great hole-in-the-walls and their grease-laden Tex-Mex; friendships, old and new. Sure, home is a place of comfort and familiarity, and it’s also the one place where we will inevitably return. We go off to college; we take jobs in far-away cities, for the allure of exploring an undiscovered city more than anything else. As we check off these sites on a map of the world, home always gets a second chance, and a third and a fourth and a fifth…

And, lucky for us, we can have more than just one.

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The inaugural post.

For some reason, November is bestowed a few too many distinctions: No Shave November, NaNoWriMo, and now, NaBloPoMo. To not participate in any of the aforementioned events seems remiss, so I have settled on NaBloPoMo, by process of elimination.

I’ll let the guys handle No Shave November. Sure, the winter months are upon us, so I could probably get away with pulling a Miss Grotke. But I live in Houston, and I hope this means I have at least a few weeks worth of flip-flops and shorts left. I spent much of the past four years wearing a waterproof down coat and waddling like a penguin over sheets of black ice, so Mother Nature owes me this much.

As for NaNoWriMo, I simply don’t have what it takes: the time, the dedication… oh, and something to write about. I’m pretty sure whatever I came up with would need a disclaimer along the lines of “this shit sucks,” anyway. I’d prefer to avoid that sub-title; I’m gonna save the 546,439,389 hours (just kidding; there aren’t that many hours in a month) I would have spent working on that novel and channel that energy into writing cover letters instead.

And so we have it. NaBloPoMo, I will conquer you (You can’t tell, but I keep deleting and retyping this. So far, I’ve created these variations: NoNaBloMo, NoNaBloPoMo, NoBloPoMo…).

It’s day #3, and this is blog #1. Some would argue that NaBloPoMo is already getting the best of me. To be fair, I only discovered this hallowed event…yesterday. Aside from offering this excuse, I argue that NaBloPoMo is about more than blogging in response to a prompt every day for a month. It’s about creating a mini-challenge for myself that’s achievable. This resolution to blog daily is a process with an outcome that I control completely, which is more than I can say for other aspects of my life. NaBloPoMo is about reminding myself why writing is what I love, why this is what I chose to do with my life. I’ve spent much of the past four months meticulously writing cover letters, writing for writing’s sake. With NaBloPoMo, I’m just gonna write for fun, dammit.

And maybe I’ll even make up for the three days I’ve missed by double-posting on occasion. Maybe.

On another note, who noticed that I completely forgot about Thanksgiving at the beginning of this post?