Home...can you hear me?!!
Concrete Jungle vibes.
ITHACA, N.Y -- Is home the bedroom you did your homework in nightly for years? Your favorite Spotify playlist? Family? Friends? HOME...can you hear me?!!
Leaving Ithaca College on fall break to go home and return all within 72 hours was simultaneously the most wild and thought-provoking time of my life. From move-in day to the moment I stepped onto a bus headed back to my city, NEW YORK I had spent 59 days away. In that time I hadn't felt homesick, for even my closest of family members. If anything, I was dreading the "How's college?!" ordeal. I knew I missed one thing: my city. I had no clue how much.
When the picturesque NYC skyline came into view I felt my heart and emotion more in sync than I have in my entire life. Then I eyed the bold 'New Yorker' on the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel, and because I am one, my heartstrings were tugged. As we began to roll the big bus down the grit-ful streets, I saw the people... my people. They're moxie infected, fast, and they've got motivational moves. Refreshing. Tears.
A number of events unfolded in the recent weeks and months -- both those that had made me feel as though I were on Cloud 9, and yes, those that have made me feel like I was at the bottom of the barrel. Not having my city with me in all of these moments was hard. It still is.
When I got home, I noticed my mom had rearranged some things in my room. Face-palm. It felt sterile. I learned from my peers that I wasn't the only one who felt as though I were staying over at a relative's. This clearly was not home.
That walk though, from my apartment to the local Boston Market for the night my mom didn't feel like cooking was home. Rushing to my high school to visit a friend in the same fashion I did for four years -- that was home. Seeing my mentor, meeting up with a correspondent -- things I did regularly for four years, they were home. Seeing friends like Theodora, Shay and Monika. Home. Being too pressed for time to go scout (and beg) Whole Foods employees for free samples was, funny enough, home. Hearing the roaring engines before sight of the redeye JFK departures soaring through the blue-black sky above my Brooklyn skyscraper was oh my God home. Taking the train with a Mexican singing and playing music from what may be his home, was my home. Pacing in a restaurant basement because I was afraid of an on-edge guy in the bathroom was home.
I learned home isn't necessarily the place in which you lay your head, but what's running through your mind as you fall asleep.
Home runs rampant with your passions. Mine are journalism and aviation. Most of my experiences within these two realms have occurred in my city. Outside of my family, friends, and mentors, it's been this city that has ignited my urge to see the world, sparked my curiosity and courage, and made me want to be the most prudent version of myself so I can evoke my change in this world.
The week following my return to Ithaca wasn't been easy. I got sick, had a host of deadlines to tend to, and a few days in -- I was extremely agitated. Calling home didn't fix. Making my passions my headline did. The sky here is as busy as a beehive with the queen M.I.A. -- traffic is slim to none. I, however, signed up for an intro session to the East Hill Flying Club. The Ithaca Airport made me feel so alive. Home. It's apparent to me that you can look for your home no matter where you go. Home is where the heart is and my heart innately loves the campus newsroom, and airport hangar. Sure, they won't have the fire NYC does, but I'm sure they'll hold me over until I get to the place that created yours truly.
PS: HLN, a network I adore recently changed their slogan to 'News that hits home.' I had been trying relentlessly to understand this because I want to tell the stories they often broadcast. I realize now that I want to tell the stories that matter -- if only to a few people -- because it resonates with their heart, and rings true to their passion. These stories stretch from school bus safety to the opioid epidemic -- I can't wait to hold your hand and tell them all.
Thank you for reading.
With ❤️ & gratitude,