Home means something different to everyone. It can be a house, an apartment, a neighborhood, a city, wherever you come from. To many people, it isn’t even a place. As they say, “home is where the heart is.” Home isn’t a location; it’s an abstract concept. Essentially, it’s just what you come from.
I didn’t know what my home was until I left it. By the end of the school year, I’d returned home from college a few times (it’s only about half an hour away from my house, with good traffic), but only for a day or two at a time. I hadn’t really stayed there until winter break. But the San Fernando Valley just isn’t itself in the winter. The only time the Valley stops being the hot, dry basin buzzing with activity that I’ve come to love is in the “heat” of winter, around New Year’s. It’s like seeing someone wearing clothes a couple of sizes too big. Just a little bit unrecognizable, just a little bit off.
So, because of this, I didn’t return to the Valley as it usually is, as I’d come to identify it, until summer. That first night, I couldn’t sleep because of the boiling temperature. I looked at the clock and found that it was 11:00 at night. I found that, for the first time, I just couldn’t get upset. Smiling, I opened my window wider to cool down my room with the sweet-smelling Valley air. It was then that I knew that this place would always be magical to me.
I’m sorry if I sound overly poetical about my hometown, but I can’t help it. If you come by to visit, you might not know what I mean, but try growing up here. Everyone thinks highly of their home, and that’s a good thing. We should all have a space that we love, whether it’s a location or something less physical. The setting that we grow up in is ingrained into our minds. It shapes us and becomes part of us. So, when we leave it for a while, we feel like something’s missing, even if we can’t always tell for sure what it is. And when we return, we can feel ourselves becoming whole again.