welcome home

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“At last I know where I’m going, where I’ve always been going. Home. The long way round.”    -The Eleventh Doctor

They say home is where the heart is. Where’s your heart?

Part of mine’s in Connecticut, in the suburb where I grew up and the city that saw my high school years and my first job. On the streets where I learned how to drive and ride my bike, on the front steps where I took pictures for prom.

Part, a large part, will always be in New Rochelle, on the college campus that saw me grow more than I ever expected to. In the dorm rooms and apartments where I made real, lasting friendships and discovered more pieces of who I am, and who I hope to be.

Part is in New York City, which is still one of my favorite places in the world even after the annoying commuter grind and the bombardment of strange sights and smells. There is something about that skyline and the hallowed halls of the Met that I will never, ever tire of.

Part is undoubtedly in Italy, left in bits and pieces in Rome, Orvieto and Florence. I threw it in the canals of Venice and gave it gladly to Assisi and Sorrento.

Another part sits in Regent’s Park and travels throughout London on a whim. It visits the pub around the block from my study abroad dorm and takes frequent trips to the Globe, lingering by the Thames.

I left pieces in the voodoo shop in New Orleans where I had my Tarot cards read and at Navy Pier in Chicago. It’s in Cape Cod, on the only beach I care to visit there, with some of the best memories and the best people I’ve ever known. It’s in Brooklyn somewhere near 86th street.

It’s scattered along the east coast. It was forgotten on a variety of planes and trains and was left in the backseat of a mess of cabs and friends’ cars. It’s in a bunch of books and poems, with fictional people in imaginary places.

It’s with everyone I’ve ever loved, wherever we were and wherever they go. It’s with you, reading this, whoever you are.

Home is all of those places, and none of them. It’s wherever I’ve been and wherever I’m going. Home is everywhere, and it’s a beautiful place to be.

525,600 minutes later

IMG_1328“525,600 minutes. How do you measure a year?”

The end of 2013 is quickly approaching, and just like any other year (however arbitrary that measure of time is) you start to think about how much is different, and how much is the same. Thinking about what’s happened in the past 12 months is enough to make anyone’s head spin. 

2013 was the year I cruelly and selfishly broke someone else to heal myself, and ran from the guilt. It was the year I hugged some of my best friends goodbye on the morning of their graduation and then cried like a baby as soon as they left their apartment.

It was the year I found happiness in London and spent the 4th of July playing foozeball in a pub with the owners after-hours while Rebecca poured her own beer and Victoria flirted with the bartender. It was the year I turned 21, fell unexpectedly but not reluctantly in love, and discovered a passion for pastels.

It was an entire year without Chris and Mr. G, but a whole year with William and Chase.

So, okay, Rent: how do you measure a year? Is there an equation to determine how much you lost, how much you gained? Is there a way to tell how much you’ve changed? Because I know I am not the same person I was last December- and I don’t regret it in the slightest.

Self assessment: since last year, I’m happier but more scared about the future. I get less stressed about the little things but more stressed about what it all means. I’m better at giving myself credit but just as bad at opening bottles of wine.

Benjamin Franklin, that wise, bald man, said something along the lines of ‘when you’re finished changing, you’re finished.’ I couldn’t agree more, Benny. I guess it doesn’t really matter how much I’ve changed- that I’ve changed is enough. And I’m nowhere near ‘finished.’

Maybe I’ll remember 2013 as the year I was ecstatic that I got to be a bridesmaid at Taylor’s wedding, despite the pit in all of our stomachs that one Donato was conspicuously and painfully absent.

Maybe I’ll remember that The Ionian won Organization of the Year and we celebrated with custom-made shot glasses, a scrapbook, and a gin bucket at Meg’s.

Maybe I’ll think of moving into our senior year apartment the day after my 21st, hungover as only a new 21-year-old can be, my parents pointing at me and saying, “do you see what happens when you drink too much?” to my little sister.

I can’t tell you what will come to mind first when I look back on 2013 a few years from now. But I will remember that these 525,600 minutes have changed me- for, I think, the better. I hope I can say the same next December.

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