After wrapping up my first semester of graduate school, and going back to Alaska for my winter break, there were a lot of feelings running through my head. One of the challenges of moving, and more specifically moving for education is the notion of where “home” really is. I have a set timeline for how long I will be here, but after that who knows where I will be? I know that I will always call Anchorage my home, it is where I grew up and where my family has been rooted for a very long time. When I moved for undergrad, there was this sense that home was still Anchorage and that I would go back for visits on every break. Now that I am older and know that this might have been my last long break home due being in school year round, I am starting to feel like I am stuck between homes.
There’s the old saying that “home is where the heart is.” and while that may be true, there is something very comforting about home being a physical place. Now that I am in Atlanta and have settled into my life here, I am not sure what location feels more like home to me. When I walk into my apartment, that is my home. It is my space that I have created to be my sanctuary and my comfort zone all for myself. But Atlanta, the city, has not yet become my home. I still talk about Anchorage as my home and miss the comfort of my hometown daily.
So when does a new city start to feel like home? And when does a hometown become just that, a hometown? At a certain point I imagine that my hometown will simply become my hometown, and my home might be somewhere else entirely. But what about home being where the heart is? My heart isn’t really in Atlanta yet. My productivity is in Atlanta, and training ground resides in Atlanta. My heart still belongs to the people who I left behind. The people who have been with me through thick and thin, held my hand while I cried and jumped for joy when I triumphed. These people don’t come around everyday, and I feel so lucky to have found so many in my hometown.
For those wondering when I will be back for another visit, I simply do not have an answer for you. I don’t know when my next trip up north will be. There is one thing I know for sure, Anchorage will always be home to me. I hope that eventually Atlanta will feel more like home and I will be that lucky girl with more than one place to call home.