July 5th, 2014

I am writing from my home away from home in Upper Michigan where I will be for the next two weeks and I thought everyone deserved a little update. I finished my adventures in Rome almost two months ago, and my adventures in Europe just a few weeks ago. I have bounced between places, rooting and uprooting myself from everywhere I went, not realizing how deep my own roots had grown, and how hard it got each successive time to find a way to dislodge myself without damage. Whenever I travel I try to get to know a place, which makes it all the harder to leave in the end.

I am a deep rooted person and because of that, every time I drag myself from the bottom out to a new place, I know that there is always something I leave behind of myself. It makes travel somewhat painful, but it also makes it so much more beautiful. To feel the pain of missing something is a discomfort I have come to enjoy in my travels because it means I cared enough, felt deep enough, about a place or the people in it to truly miss it when it is gone. I choose to cherish the fact that I was able to build these strong connections instead of dwelling on the pain of missing them.

I have come to understand now that the older we grow, the more homes we accumulate. As little children collect doll houses, which they fill with all the pieces they think makes up a house and home, I have seen people as they grow older collect homes. However, instead of physical houses gathering dust in the corner, I have found that certain places leave images of themselves behind in my heart that cannot be uprooted, no matter how hard I try. I am 21 years old, I have collected four homes so far in my life:

  1. Santa Cruz, California: My first and everlasting home filled with the sound of wind blowing through trees and waves crashing on the beach. Filled with childhood memories of me and my family. If you put your ear close to my heart, you can hear Santa Cruz continually ringing like a conch shell murmuring of the ocean it once belonged to.
  2. Bootjack, Michigan: A home the color of crystal water, and sunsets like none I have ever seen elsewhere. It rings like thunder rolling deep across the lake as rain hangs like a curtain over the things I love. It is filled with my most cherished family memories that have made my heart so full of family I could never let them go. The welcome mat in front of my home reads out to all who peer inside my heart, Just Another Beautiful Day in Bootjack.
  3. Berkeley, California: This home is filled to the walls with books, ones I both love and hate. The walls are covered in words of the things I have collected from professors, peers, and some life long friends. This home is ever changing as I enter my final year of physically living here, but this place houses all of my wisdom, my hard work and dedication. It is in this home I have watched dreams become reality.
  4. Rome, Italy: My newest home full of memories like a live-wire bringing new things to life in me. A home the color of perpetual dawn like the buildings painted to never loose the colors of each wonderful day. A home filled with reconstructed ruins, where rubble is the remnant and reminder of how grand life can be. A home that stole my heart quite forcefully, rooting deep and fast making it the most painful to leave.

All of this to say, I have been bouncing between all four of these homes for the last couple of months, leaving Rome to return to Santa Cruz, leaving Santa Cruz to see Berkeley, and Leaving Santa Cruz again to come where I am now, my home away from home in Michigan. I hope to share some memories and experiences of my most current home as I have been doing for my others so recently.

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