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On being homesick

| Monday, February 10, 2020

I’ve never been much of a homebody.

But as of late, I find myself overwhelmed with feelings of homesickness. Not in the traditional sense, but rather for the places and people I’ve encountered over the past 19 years. 

From a young age my parents shipped me away to sleepaway camp in the summers. Every year, without fail, I quickly hugged them goodbye and ran to my cabin, never looking back.

Home is a bottom bunk in an old cabin filled with a dozen strangers who would become lifelong friends. 

Fast forward to August 2017: freshman move-in. The day I’d been looking forward to all summer, if not longer. At this point I had read all the “What to Expect During Your First Week at College” advice columns and, without fail, every one mentioned homesickness. While not seeing my mom everyday and showering with flip flops on was quite the adjustment, it did not quite constitute homesickness. 

Home is living on your own for the first time with three roommates in a room the size of a shoebox. 

I’ve heard the adage over a hundred times: “The Avenue will lead you home.” I’d heard my peers’ testaments of getting goosebumps when they drive down The Ave. But yet I didn’t feel a thing — I couldn’t fathom creating an emotional connection to a bunch of old buildings. Quickly did I learn that home isn’t the physical place, but rather the memories formed in the old buildings. 

Home is the laughs with friends in LeMans on a Saturday night or the stress-induced tears in Trumper on a Monday. 

Like many of my peers, I studied abroad during the spring of my sophomore year. By the time I had touched down in Spain I had lost track of the amount of times people told me that “it’s normal to be homesick during your first few weeks,” and yet I felt nothing. 

Home became the way my host mom would turn on the space heater before I’d take a shower and bring me tea with honey when I was sick, despite the language barrier.

Over the weekend, I visited a friend in Chicago, a city I was lucky enough to call home for 10 weeks over the summer. While walking to breakfast we passed the building where I interned and seemingly spent all my time at. 

Home is the courtyard where I’d sit and eat lunch with a coworker in the warm July sun.

While Saint Mary’s is less than two hours away from my hometown, my trips home are few and far between, which has enabled my parents to become big fans of showing up to my dorm on a Saturday morning to “surprise me” — also known as fill up my gas tank and catch up. 

Home is a South Bend restaurant, having dinner with the people that taught me what it’s like to feel “at home.”

The culmination of all these seemingly insignificant yet fleeting moments have given me a sense of comfort and familiarity that I have never felt from four walls and a roof. There’s a bittersweetness to knowing that these feelings of home will never be recreated exactly the same.

 I can’t wait to see where I’m homesick for next.  

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About Mia Marroquin

Mia Marroquin is a rising senior Communication Studies major at Saint Mary’s. Currently serving as Saint Mary’s News Editor, she hails from Holland, Michigan and is an 80’s movie fanatic. Follow Mia on Twitter @_miamarroquin

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