so Houston is home, huh?

home is where the puppy isI’ve thought about the concept of “home” some more.  And I’ve concluded that there are varying degrees of “home.” It’s a spectrum. At the furthest, most home-y end of that spectrum is where my parents live.

I started to realize that when I was tagging my last post. I have a category for posts that I’ve written “from home.” I didn’t use that category when I lived in Peru for three months or at my grandparents’ for two months, during my gap year. I don’t use it when I’m at college. But, by golly, I’m going to use it in Texas. Once the best friend and I road trip down there in December (oh yes!), you’d better believe the food-filled posts popping up one after another on here will be all categorized as “from home.”

Maybe, if my parents someday retire to the mountains or decide to become nomads and circumnavigate the world in a sailboat once they are empty-nesters and my brothers and I are scattered across the US, then the place I associate with my “from home” category will change. Even more likely, if I manage to find a job and a place to live after college – though a linguistics degree is a far cry from a guarantee of that – then that place will be my “from home.” But for now, it’s where Mom and Dad are.  And that’s Texas.

Just please don’t call me a Texan. Not yet, anyhow.


so, where is home? [going to Houston]

Why this picture? Because it's the only one of Texas I have left that you haven't seen already. Why the Instagramy editing? Because it's Texas.

Why this picture? Because it’s the only one of Texas I have left that you haven’t seen already. Why the Instagramy editing? Because it’s Texas.

I’m going to Houston in about a week.

Here’s the short story: My family moved to Houston, and I still go to school in North Carolina.

Here’s the slightly longer story: Just days before school started this semester, family moved to a house I’d never seen in Houston, Texas.  Instead of accompanying them to my new “home,” I slept on a comfy mattress on the floor of my best friend’s house for a few days, and then drove our little Civic, filled to the roof with the belongings necessary to facilitate learning, back to school. And at school I have remained, fully expecting to finally experience that elusive place that part of my family calls “home” only once Christmas break and the blessed end of the semester arrived. But, lo and behold, my test schedule miraculously arranged itself  so as to provide a brief interlude in studying, falling directly over the duration of fall break. So, I (read: Mother dear) booked a ticket and laid my plans to go “home” to Texas for four days.

But what is “home,” anyway? Whenever I return from trips, I’m convinced that “home” is where you can raid the refrigerator with gleeful abandon or where you have a favorite bathroom and know exactly where to find the extra toilet paper. But, when I’m traveling, “home” is the most recent place where I left the contents of my suitcase strew across the corner where I’m assigned to sleep. Here at school “home” could either be Wilmington proper, our former house outside Wilmington, in Houston,  in my dorm room, at my best friend’s house in Wilmington. Which is it? I haven’t a clue. And – while I’m questioning things – why do I have to pick? They say “home is where the heart is,” but what if your “heart” happens to be in multiple places?

This is strangely familiar. I think I’m drawing on the vestiges of the little short-term missionary kid I once was – the one who, for what seemed like the longest time, felt as if she’d left “home” back in Uganda when returning “home” to the US. But it’s different this go-round. I’m in a different stage of life, and not living in the same place for a year straight has become normal since I created this blog in 2011.

As it stands, I’m not too concerned. I’m getting far better at dealing with this nonsense called “change,” I think. I’m not feeling any separation anxiety for Wilmington. And I lived there for 17 years. I don’t miss Wilmington like I did Uganda. And I only lived there for two. Sure, there are people there who I’d rather not live farther than 30 minutes away from, but that’s life. Proximity to people I like doesn’t make a place home. I’m starting to think that I’m a turtle: I carry my sense of “home” along with me.

However it works, I’m rather excited to add Houston to the list of places I’ve called “home.” I figure the more places on that list there are, the better. So, save me a seat on the next plane, because likely as not, I’ll feel right “at home” once I get there.

home. hallelujah!

I am home. And I like it.

Actually, as impossible as it is for me to comprehend, I have been home for slightly more than a week. Even more oddly, I feel like I never left. Peru seems like some crazy, delicious dream. It is weird how memory works.

My plane touched down at 1:44pm on Sunday the 11th, 13 minutes early. That plane certainly did not originate in Peru, though. No, no, no. Here is how my unnecessarily complicated trip home played out:

Cusco -> Lima -> Quito, Ecuador -> Miami airport -> a hotel -> Miami airport -> Charlotte -> Home

It really was not too bad. LAN, the airline I flew to Miami, provided the greatest quantity and best quality of food and entertainment I have experienced on any airlines ever. They served a hot meal, despite the fact that the flight had left at 7:35pm, with real cutlery (how dangerous; someone could have been stabbed!) and ceramic dinnerware!

A roll, rice with zucchini ribbons, beef in beefy sauce with peas, and flan!

Furthermore, the personal seat-back entertainment system on the flight to Miami offered 52 movies, 92 TV programs, games, and a few other options! And the coach class seats reclined sufficiently to keep your head from falling forward if you fell asleep! It was incredible. Also, I rather enjoyed spending the night in the quite nice hotel (thank you, Daddy!) by myself. Best of all, I acquired an Ecuadorian stamp on my passport!

Quito: it looked a lot like Cusco, only less mountainous and much bigger and greener.

My friends Hannah and Anna met me at the airport at home. As promised, they brought me pumpkin muffins! Yum!  My family came to the airport also, but since my plane was early and they were not, they arrived a few minutes after I did. Twas amusing.

Amongst other things, I ate a big, wonderful salad – my first proper salad in nearly three months – for supper on Sunday.

Since then, I have run, helped out with Hannah’s piano recital (I mentioned she teaches piano, right? She’s so cool.), petted Sasha, eaten, cooked, played Monopoly, repeated to mother things I have heard on NPR, seen more of my friends, baked, gone to church, and cooked and eaten some more. It has been wonderful!