I think we all have a different idea of what home is to us. And I think that definition and the picture we have in our mind of "home" changes over time. Home to me has always been the smell of sunscreen as I sit in my beach chair with a good book in hand at Wrightsville Beach, a dog's face in the window as I pull into the driveway, the smell of my mom making marinara sauce on Sundays, my brother and sister sitting in the living room joking around about something ridiculous, coffee at Port City Java with my dad, and that "home" smell when I walk into my house. No matter how many houses we've lived in, home always smells like home. And feels like home. So it's no wonder that I'm learning how home can be a feeling you take with you and not just a geographical location.
Home is not your house. It's what's in the house and who's in the house. It's the "small joys" that I always refer to that make up a home. I took a class my sophomore year of college at Carolina called "Habitat and Humanity." It was an anthropology class that I was taking only to satisfy some liberal arts requirements for UNC, and though the professor was a little dry, it was a very interesting class. On the first day, the professor said to us (in a very monotone, flat voice), "In this class, we will learn about buildings. Most of us spend all of our lives in buildings. You were born in a building, and you will probably die in a building." I found the statement to be quite odd, though true. But the thing is, our lives aren't defined by those buildings. We live our lives within them, but they aren't "home" unless you and the people around you make the building a home. Many people find "home" far outside of a building.
So my definition of home is changing. It's still those comforts that I find in Wilmington, North Carolina, but it's also stretching over hundreds of miles to encompass what I feel in Indianapolis as well. Being with Scott feels like home to me. After years of dating long distance, I get this feeling when I'm finally with him that is hard to describe, but it's something I feel no matter where I see him. In his city, my city, our hometown, whilst travelling elsewhere, it's there. And it's the very same feeling I get when I pass exit 420 on I-40 and see the first signs of Wilmington life. It's the same feeling I get when I see a dog (or puppy) in the window waiting for me at home, or when I walk in and smell the air freshener in my mom's house. It's that home feeling.
Scott and I went apartment hunting while I was visiting him in Indiana, and we found what will be our first home together when we get married (and my home for a little while before we are married). It's a one bedroom apartment in downtown Indianapolis (more on the outskirts of downtown) with bay windows and all the potential to house the comforts of home that I've always cherished. Though my Wilmington home will always hold that feeling of home to me, I'm beginning to see how Indy can have that for me, too. And I'm seeing how, especially with Scott by my side and the Lord watching over us, this new place will soon be able to be home to me. It'll be the first time I call somewhere away from Wilmington my home. Chapel Hill and Durham continue to be "school" to me even though I'm not in school. My grandmother picked on me last Christmas because I kept talking about "driving back to school." It has always felt like a temporary place to me and though it has elements of home, it's never been my settling place.
So here's to new adventures over the next year and to growing some roots in Indiana. North Carolina will always be home, and we're excited to one day return to NC after a few years of adventuring together. The song "Wagon Wheel" will always make me think of my first home, but I'm excited to make memories in the new one as well. Home, to me, then, is a feeling, and not a place.
Though cheesy as it may be, the quote "home is where the heart is" seems to ring true in my life. And my heart is torn between two places, so it's no wonder that I'm going to find home in two different places next year.
On that note, I'll end. This has been on my mind for a few weeks now and I'm so glad to finally be able to express what I've been thinking about and mulling over regarding my future home and whether or not it can feel like current home. And speaking of the future home.. here are some pics I took while in Indy to give you a sneak peek of where we'll live. :) I'm quite excited about this place.
Grace & peace, sweet friends. I hope you can identify with this and know where your "home" is, even if it's not in a certain place.