I miss home.
That single thought is something I’ve struggled with ever since coming to RPI, and something I continue to struggle with in my writing. For my freshman year poetry class, I wrote: “Whenever someone on Tuesday night asks me ‘When are you going home?’ I always respond ‘I’m going back to my dorm at …’ followed by a brief explanation (to myself) of where home is: Home is where my family lives, where the old people speak Russian and play dominoes, where the OCD woman (who waters her sidewalk three times a day) gets into arguments with the drug dealer across the street because she doesn’t like his berry tree staining her concrete …”
I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but there was something wrong about calling RPI “home.” No, I didn’t particularly miss my crazy neighbors who woke me up by calling the cops on each other at random hours of the night, but there was something wrong about calling another place home, like it was some sacred word that belonged to one location only.
I tried deluding myself about home in that same piece of writing: “However, Basho says that every day is a journey, and the journey itself is a home. Drawing the sandy line of zen-logic with my rake, I’m slowly beginning to realize that home doesn’t have to be a physical place; instead, it can simply be the things I do every day.” Maybe “deluding” is the wrong word here and should be replaced with “changing my mentality,” but my mind sure gave me a hard time doing that. It’s a year later, and I’m still trying to reconcile with what I identify as home.
I guess I should try to figure out what my definition of home is. I’m sitting here in my room in North Hall and thinking there’s only a couple of elements to home, and that’s doing the things you enjoy and being with the people you love. And I have that here at RPI, people I love and things I want to do every day. So why is it so hard to call this place home?
Maybe I just have a hard time considering home as an abstract image as opposed to a concrete image. My mind has blurred the definitions of the words “house” and “home,” but that’s understandable; after all, I’ve lived in the same little brick house in Queens for my entire pre-college life. But a house is simply a building and a home is memories of playing supermarket in the basement or watching every Charlie Brown holiday special that was televised—it’s something that stretches far beyond the four walls that have just so happened to encapsulate 18 years of my life.
I’m reading over this piece and am slightly ashamed at the poor quality of it—again, I have trouble writing about home (this is revision five, mind you). But at least it’s honest and at least it’s me, and, at the very least, I think I feel somewhat better about calling RPI home.
And you know what? I believe I can truthfully end this notebook the same way I ended my poem: “Another thing I feared was having few friends in college. At least that worry can be laid to rest. I’ve found a new home in late newspaper-Tuesday nights.”