On November 16th I packed a backpack and a duffel bag and climbed into the passenger seat of my friend Jamie’s car. We picked up another student and drove to the small airport (with two gates). We checked in, went through security (I got an extra screening, because of course I did), and waited to board our flight. Jamie and I couldn’t fit our carryon bags on the plane so we had to get them gate checked. We flew up to Seattle, managed to get our bags back, and then went to our separate gates- her next plane headed for San Francisco, and mine headed for Sacramento.
I landed in California around 11:00 at night, and finally got to see my brother for the first time in two months. My mom drove us back home where my passive aggressive puppy wasn’t impressed with my return. I talked with my brother, unpacked a bag in my own room, and went to sleep around 1:30 in the morning. When I woke up, I poured myself some coffee, lit a candle for the first time in what had felt like forever, and talked to my mom a little bit. We went to my grandparent’s house for Sabbath lunch, and it was so good to see them.
Coming home for Thanksgiving Break had really good moments. Seeing my family, sleeping in my own room, and not wearing shoes in the shower were some of my favorite things. I spent a whole day with my grandparents, used my exercise bike while watching Thanksgiving episodes of West Wing, and ate food at a dining room table instead of from a cafeteria to-go box. I had a “Friendsgiving” where I spent time with people I hadn’t really talked to in over a year, and also got to catch up with one of my best friends who is still in high school. I watched A Muppet’s Christmas Carol with my family, played card games with my mom and brother, and got to spend some time by myself in a familiar environment. Thanksgiving Break was exactly what my soul needed.
Coming home for Thanksgiving Break also had some weird moments. My first night back had me feeling like I was walking through memories. I knew where everything was, and I quickly fell back into old routines, but it all felt familiar in an old kind of way. Whenever I left my room I found myself checking to make sure I had my student ID so I could get back in (as a matter of fact, I completely blanked and accidentally left my house key back in Washington). There were things I’d missed, like my grandparents getting a new kitchen table and my mom getting their old one. I took my pillows to school with me so while at home I had to borrow one, as well as taking the living room throw blanket because all my warm bedding is also back in Washington. I went to Target on the first Saturday night to get small bottles of shampoo and conditioner to keep at home for breaks, and refused to let my mom pay for it so I could still feel independent.
I needed to come home. I needed the break from getting up early and staying up late to study, and I needed to spend quality time with my family. But I quickly realized that college has been good for me. Yes, there have been times where I have felt very stressed and I did have a full on breakdown the week before going home for break, but it’s still good for me. I like being around my friends all the time. I like having the option of going to get crème brûlée at 8:00 at night and getting up at 6:30 to go see a balloon stampede, both just because. School has started to feel like home- in fact, I caught myself saying “back at home” more than a couple of times, and it felt strange. I like feeling independent, even if I do still need help more than I’d like. I’m happy in Washington, with my dorm space and little social circle. I’m happy that Fall quarter is almost over, and I’m happy with the direction I’m headed in. But even with all these happy things, I’m still happy to be going home for Christmas in a few weeks. More time with my family is still greatly needed, but hopefully this time my dog will be a little less passive aggressive…