Hey nearest and dearest pals at home — I miss you. And I wish you were here.
Last weekend my sister graduated from college and I missed it. My brother has apparently had a girlfriend for months and I just found out about her. My closest friends are moving through exciting times in their lives — birthdays, new jobs, relationships, nights out, new apartments — and I’m missing it all. It’s official: I’m homesick.
I knew this would happen. I knew I’d get lonely and miss my people and have moments where I wanted to give it all up and go home. Colorado is an amazing, beautiful state filled with in-your-face opportunities for adventure and a healthy lifestyle, and I wake up happy as a clam/freeee as a bird most days. No matter how great it feels to be living my own life in a new exciting place, though, it’s always hard to be away from home when you love your home as much as I love mine.
When I decided to move here, my mom was pretty upset, because there was a chance that I could move to Colorado and meet someone (or just really like it) and then never come back. She was worried that I would move to Colorado for good.
Would I stay here? Is Colorado my new semi-permanent, indefinite home?
So far, I think I’ve spent my 4 months away from Philadelphia pretty well, with lots of trips and laughs and adventures and little secrets I wouldn’t want my parents to know about.
But when I’m really homesick, I think about what I would do if I could go home: how I would go visit my grandparents down the shore, how I would watch Jeopardy with my family at precisely 7pm on weeknights, how I would go find that boy who I can’t get out of my stupid head after all this time. I think about the things that made up my high school years, the summers in between college, the roller coaster years since I graduated. These are the places I’ve made memories with the people I love the most, and these are the things I melodramatically yearn for when I’m having a lonely day in Colorado:
- Seeing my family everyday — watching mindless HGTV shows with my mom and bike riding with my dad and having snippets of actual conversations with my brother.
- Hanging out at the bar I can walk to from my house, where we had “our table”, where the bouncer knows our names and where it feels like a small high school reunion every Saturday night.
- O’Neills Market and the big pickle jar — and how they’re always out of soft pretzels, and how they have the best damn potato salad ever.
- Rita’s. Water ice in general… people out here have no idea what they’re missing out on.
- Late night drives with that one good friend or by myself, through nearby towns along winding and hilly “back roads” — to Hatboro and Huntingdon Valley and Southampton and Warminster and Richboro and all the way out to New Hope and Buckingham and over the river to Lambertville, blasting country music and dodging deer and rabbits in the dark.
- Going to the high school marching band field in the middle of the night with James and whoever else, talking about life and boyfriends and writing and probably Europe.
- The one telephone pole that reminds me of a friend’s brother who passed away after a drag racing accident years ago.
- Walking in massive teenage herds from Lisa’s house down to the tot lot playground with Slurpees & Arizona iced teas in our bathing suits and towels.
- The sneakers hung on the telephone lines at the end of my street.
- Standing in the cold or rain or blistering heat at the Glenside train station for whatever city rendezvous we had up our sleeves that day.
- Obligatory Wawa runs and jamming candy into our bags before going to the movies.
- Being in walking distance to my best friend’s house.
- Stopping at Bryn Athyn Cathedral every time I pass it, just to park and walk through the grounds real quick, snap some pictures and head on my way.
- My sister.
- The constant sound of lawn mowers and kids playing outside in the summer. Thinking back now in my nostalgic homesick state, it almost feels romantic. Trashy neighbors & all!
- Day trips down the shore, visiting my grandparents or eating shitty food along the Ocean City boardwalk with high school friends.
- The Fourth of July — nowhere does it like Glenside.
- The creepy guys who work at 7-11, but how I don’t really mind them that much because they always give me gross free pizza that seems sooo delish after a few hours at the bar.
- Walking to the small patch of woods behind my house in the winter when the trees are bare, navigating through the dark to find the big flat rock, and looking out at the Philadelphia skyline.
- Climbing all over and through the big cheese on the GW playground, and how only people from home know that this sentence actually makes total sense.
- Front porch sittin’. Though the house I grew up in is less than 3 miles from the border of one of the largest cities in the country, our little neighborhood feels safe and friendly and is booming with kids running in the street. Watching thunderstorms. Sitting with the late great Jeffrey.
- Driving down to Boathouse Row and the art museum steps really early on Saturday mornings by myself and taking in my favorite view of Philly.
One New Years Day 2012, my dad and I went for a freezing cold walk in Pennypack Park — three days before I left for my semester in London. He probably doesn’t even remember the conversation, but I asked him why he never left the Philadelphia area — the place where he was born and raised, and the place where he continues to work today. Didn’t he ever want to see other places?
He said his whole family lives in Philadelphia, and after awhile you realize it’s not where you go that matters, but who you’re with. I guess after a couple of jaunts around the world, I’m finally starting to agree with him.
Something’s happened since I moved to the west. I’m more confident, healthier, generally happier, and I have a lot of time to myself to explore. I’m trying things that scare me every day — today at the gym I was doing pull-ups and lifting weights… WITH A BARBELL. LIL OL’ ME. I KNOW.
I’m nowhere near ready to go back to Philly yet for good, but I’m getting a tiny bit older now, and I’m starting to watch my friends get engaged and married and pregnant. I should probably work on getting a boyfriend first, but when I picture my future, I always see those big life events playing out back at home. Coming to Colorado was a necessary move, and I know if I were still at home I’d be drowning in stagnation/going crazy over the stirring of my soul. Colorado was the right decision for me — I really dig it here, homesickness and all.
In the meantime, pals, I’ll say it again: I wish you were here to see Colorado with me. Come whenever you want, seriously. Like, tomorrow works for me if it works for you. And I guess if I really really need to, Denver’s airport has plenty of flights leaving for Philly every day… who says you can’t go home?
How do you deal with homesickness?
And some somewhat relevant songs that have been giving me the feels lately:
Home — Ingrid Michaelson / I Will Be Found — John Mayer / I Hold On — Dierks Bentley / Streets of Philadelphia — Bruce Springsteen / Homegrown — Zac Brown Band / Sirens — Pearl Jam / Home — Dierks Bentley / Constellations — Jack Johnson / Meanwhile Back at Mama’s — Tim McGraw / True to Myself — Ziggy Marley / Dancing in the Moonlight — King Harvest