define: Home

Home. What a strange word. Some people may define it as the place where you live, but others may define it as where your heart is.

For the first eighteen years of my life, I could easily say that my home was the fourth house on the left in a cute, northern suburb of St. Louis. I will venture a little further and say that I considered that home for the next two years while I was away at school. My first two years at college were hard for me, and homesickness wasn’t an unusual feeling for me because I didn’t consider Kansas City my home.

Then, it was like a flip had switched in my junior year of college. Kansas City was no longer this strange land to me. I had planted roots: I had settled on a running route around the track behind my apartment complex and up and around the art museum; my favorite checker at Aldi knew my name and I knew his; I frequented new restaurants and could navigate my way around without having a GPS; I was solving problems on my own and discovering and reveling in my own independence; I found a little known spot with one of the best views that Andrew and I would sneak away to on cool nights just to soak everything in. I knew Kansas City and it was no longer just the place that I lived.

In August, Andrew and I leased our first apartment together as newlyweds. I looked forward to coming home to him in the evenings and snuggling close while we watched movies. While we were already very close when we were just dating, I didn’t realize how different being married felt. It’s not something I can put into words easily because it’s all in my heart, not my mind. I just knew I wanted to be wherever he was.

St. Louis, on the other hand now feels unfamiliar. I’m such a different person than I was in high school so I feel like I’m looking at everything with fresh eyes. I have so many questions that I don’t have answers to anymore. As we are preparing for the move back, it feels like we are moving to a new city. All of the routines I established in Kansas City no longer apply.  

So now, as this strange city has slowly weaseled its way into my heart and Andrew and I have put in some tentative roots, it’s hard for me to say where home is. As May inches closer, I keep telling friends and family that we will be moving “home” to St. Louis, but I’m not sure that’s the correct word to use anymore. St. Louis was my home for about twenty years – and it still holds a special place in my heart – but no, I don’t think it’s home quite yet again.

Yet, Kansas City isn’t quite home either. I’ve spent all of my independent adult life here, so this is where it all happened for me. But in Kansas City, I lack the friends and family that I have back in St. Louis. While I have a variety of friends here, I really only have one that I can talk to on a deep and personal level, and she’s currently working 65+ hour weeks. Here I lack the network of support that really keeps me going, which is why I struggled with depression for a long time here.

If home is where you live, then home is Kansas City. Yet if home is where the heart is, my heart is mostly back in St. Louis with my family and close friends. My heart is also where Andrew is. So where is home currently? Who knows, but I’m up for the adventure to figure it out again.

14 thoughts on “define: Home”

  1. I think home can be wherever you want it to be. I grew up as an expat living in a US military community overseas, and I constantly see people come and go. My life is more stable because I actually stayed in one place since I was three, but I can see how it would be confusing to those who move around a lot. I don’t blame you for wondering about that. I think a lot of people who lives in multiple places wonder about that at times. Then there’s people like me who knows home is in South Korea, but then wonder where she’s really from or what she is LOL

    Anyway, your point about not being who you were in high school — spot on. We’re definitely not people we were before. Time and experience will shape us. Even just a little bit of change will make a big difference. I can say that whatever happens in the future for you and Andrew will be an adventure :) It won’t always be an easy adventure, but at least you’ll experience it together and with friends and families by your side!

  2. becca, i love how you defined home on this post. you are quite right that it can be where you live and it can also be where your heart is. i guess there’s no fixed definition for home… it’s a subjective term. but for me, as long as you’re comfortable with where you live and who you live with, then you’re home.:)

    the one you mentioned about looking forward to getting home after you and andrew got married just made me melt inside, that was so sweet!

  3. After a while in a new town, you learn to adapt to your surrounding and the culture around you.. And become one. I’m glad to hear that you’ve adapted to Kansas City! It’s okay to have more than one home, as long as you feel comfortable with where you are :).

    I moved to a new town for school and had to rely on Google Maps for everything at first. Now, I probably know every place, its exact location, and how to get there. Adaptation is good, but don’t forget where you come from! :)

  4. I can relate to that feeling. When my family first moved to Texas, I still considered New York my home for a few years. Every time I visited New York, I’d have the comforting feeling of being home. Even now, I still sort of feel that, so I consider NY a second home.

    For about 6 years, I changed apartments every year, and during the summer, I’d go back to my parents’ place for a few months. During that period, I really wasn’t sure what “home” was for me. It wasn’t until I bought a house of my own, that I truly called it home.

    The transition can be hard, even if you used to live in a place. I hope the move goes well, and that St. Louis becomes that familiar place for you again!

  5. Home is wherever you feel the most comfortable in. It can be in St.Louis, or in Kansas City. It does not matter. Just as long as you’re comfortable and with the person you love dearly — Andrew!

    I really liked how you defined the definition of what home really means. We all have our definitions of something be it success, home, love, and etc. It all depends on you.

    Thank you for sharing this Becca. You have definitely come a long ways since I first met you, years ago. I’m glad to be your friend STILL.

  6. Home is where my husband and my dog, Marley is at. Doesn’t matter where. Where ever I feel safest with them. it isn’t a place, but a feeling and for me, it’s where loved ones are at. <3 Beautiful post. Well wishes to you and Andrew.

  7. Home is probably a feeling and it doesn’t matter if you feel at home in 3 different cities. Like what Tara said up there, home is wherever you want it to be. :) I’ve always thought I don’t belong in my country. I don’t feel at home at all in my city but I feel at home when I’m with my family. But I want to build a home somewhere else too. Great post dear! Really made me think.

  8. I think you can more than one home. Home is a place where you feel happy and safe, so home changes as you change, and you can have as many homes as you want. Liverpool is my home, my mum and dad’s house is home, my flat with Matt is home. The more homes you have, the more places you have to be happy!
    Hope the move goes well and you find a new home to add to the places you can already call home =]

  9. I’ve never lived anywhere else so for me home has always been the same place.

    But I guess maybe you can have more then one home in your case. Both places seem to mean something to you in different ways.

  10. This is a well written post! My university is only 45 minutes away from my family’s house. I live on campus but I usually go home on the weekends! I kind of feel like I have two homes but I feel so much more comfortable at my family’s home for some reason. How far away is Kansas City to St. Louis? Do you go to a branch of Mizzou? I think the big campus is in Columbia or something.

    1. I think our parents’ house has that familiar sense of comfort that we often associate with home, so it feels “homier.” Plus I associate it with my family and love ones, so that makes it feel more like home, too.

      Kansas City is just under four hours from St. Louis, so not too far but not really close either. I go to the University of Missouri – Kansas City, so Mizzou is a sister school. There are four schools in the University of Missouri system, so Mizzou is the original located in Columbia. There’s also one in St. Louis and Rolla. I’m impressed you knew that! But I guess Mizzou is pretty good in sports if you follow them.

      1. I’ve actually been to St. Louis before! But also I have a friend that went to middle school that now goes to Mizzou in Columbia. Thats how I knew. :)

  11. I have been living in Sydney all my life, in the same house since I was three. I don’t remember the apartment I lived in before then. In a way I call Sydney home, and even though I have travelled a bit, I feel like it is always home. I think, though, that I have a genuine fear of calling somewhere else home. Things will change over the years so I don’t really know what to expect, but I know that home should feel ‘right’.

    It sounds cheesy, but you know what I mean when I say home is where the heart is. So it feels like home when I’m with Nick, even if we are in the middle of nowhere. I feel like even if I moved to another country, I might still call Sydney home. My parents still feel like Indonesia is their home. It’s a bit bittersweet.

    1. I always thought that St. Louis would be my home forever, but it’s so weird how life takes you different directions than you think and I ended up establishing a little home somewhere else.

      I definitely agree that my home will always be wherever Andrew is. But for me, I feel like other factors also come into play such as my family since they are so important.

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