Moving to New York City, I knew that I would be leaving behind much of what I’d known to be home for my entire life—and I’m not just talking about my house that I always thought of as being nestled in a piece of the country in the middle of the city (now I really know what is worthy of being deemed a city). What I’m saying is that I knew I’d be leaving my friends, family, Jeter and—ultimately—my comfort roughly 230 miles away.
I’ve never been the type to get homesick. But, then again, how could I? I went to college in my hometown, I’d never traveled for long periods of time or out of the country for that matter. Growing up I always had the people who mattered most to me close enough to be able to pop in to say “hi, how are ya” on any given day—then again, I guess I still could, only now it’s a Best Bus away and finding the time to be able to get away from work.
Anyways, over the past (almost) two months (I can’t believe it’s been that long), I’ve been dandy up here in The Big Apple—expanding my food palette, finding new bars, meeting enchanting (and some disturbing) people—the point is, I’ve been a-o-k. And up until last weekend, I hadn’t felt truly homesick. So what happened last weekend you might ask?
I went home.
Isn’t it funny how you’ll be loving life and then you see what you’re missing and all of a sudden you find it a tad difficult to enjoy your surroundings, no matter how wonderful and surreal they may be? Well, that’s what happened to me. Don’t get me wrong, New York City has always been my dream destination for the start of my career and at least a 6 month living stint, after all it’s the center of my industry, the fashion and entertainment Mecca, the be-all-end-all of countless delicious food opportunities—it’s the place to be.
But going home, that made me realize something.
I grew up in Northern Virginia—it’s just easier to say DC though (otherwise everyone up here seems to think you live in BFE).Anyways, living near the nation’s capital allowed me to visit some of the country’s best museums, monuments, historical sites; it gave me the opportunity to attend some of the best elementary, middle and high schools, as well as college. Living in Northern Virginia, I was in close proximity to my entire immediate and extended family. I had access to the beach, the mountains and the city. Let’s talk about the air—it just smells fresher. And there are trees e v e r y w h e r e (so it actually makes sense when there’s pollen, unlike here in NYC where trees are sparse but the pollen ratings are off the charts). There’s the ability to walk outside at night and to be able to count the constellations (because you can actually see them since city lights (as beautiful as they are) don’t edge them out). There’s The Apple House and Cenan’s and GAR and Villa Bella and that little Chinese restaurant in Arlington that I have no idea the name of but they have the best pork fried wontons to ever grace my taste buds (and the crispy noodles because apparently NYC doesn’t believe in those). Oh and they actually have queso—not queso fundido (overrated way-too-thick cheese that’s almost too difficult to scoop to even be worth it but New Yorkers seem to love it)—but actual white, dripping deliciousness Q U E S O. There’s Great Falls and Clemyjontri. There’s the roads and metro that I know like the back of my hand. There’s my mom and sister (my family in general), my nephew who took his first steps and I wasn’t there to see them. There’s Ched Loon (and Bean and Hootsker). There are some of my very best friends in the entire world—and their late night calls for Chipotle/Lil Buddha words of wisdom (Alex) or DC/saving me from sitting at home (Jaleece) or Netflix, wine and Olive Garden leftovers (Rhian) or Turning up on a Tuesday (Aleichia) or HahaJaJaing all over the place (Tyler)—who just make life a little more worthwhile.
But what’s the real thing about home? There are memories. There’s everything that led me to exactly where I am today—the good, the bad, the sad and the hopeful.
So, now that I’m back in New York City, away from all of that—I’m realizing how much it all means to me. My trip home shed light onto the idea that you truly never know what you have until it’s gone. Not that NoVA is gone, because I know it will be waiting for me every time I go back. But, I guess, now that I’m gone, I just realize how much more I should have appreciated the place that I was always dreaming of leaving.
And isn’t that just how it goes? It really is a shame that so many of us are unable to recognize the beauty and importance and specialness of the present until it’s already a memory.
So with that, it’s my goal to take it all in, wherever I am and appreciate life for what it is—people, places, experiences and things. And along the way, maybe, just maybe, I’ll create a plethora of memories that—when I’m away from the new home that I am creating here in this crazy beautiful city—are worth being homesick for too.