Since May there has been a serious increase in the number of my freshman friends returning from their missions. Sometimes it feels like every other day another one returns home. I can't help but smile as I see their names change on Facebook with the loss of the title "Elder." I can't help but smile as they make their first posts, proclaiming in some way, "I'M BACK," posts which are inevitably followed by a plethora of welcome back comments and likes from friends and family.
What I'm most excited about though is seeing those guys on campus again. Everywhere I went freshman year I felt like I was always running into someone I knew. The last two years I hardly saw people I knew on campus; this past year that might have had something to do with the fact that I spent nearly all my time in a single building. There was always something so comforting about knowing people on campus and being able to talk with them for even a brief moment. After freshman year literally half the people I knew were suddenly gone. But this next school year hopefully I'll get those little campus moments once again.
Recently my friend Katie wrote a blog post about enjoying time w/ her family before she leaves for a year and a half to Hong Kong. Her post started off with this:
Do you ever have those moments when something is so beautiful that you can't breathe? When your heart is so full and fit to burst that there actually isn't enough room in your chest for air? When you ache with longing, and you aren't quite sure why, but your white-hot joy is tinged with just a shade of grief? When you are reminded of something that feels more like home than anything you've ever experienced, but you can't quite put your finger on what it is?
Katie is quite the wordsmith, something I've always known but appreciated so much more when I read that. She managed to put into words a few different emotions that are often so hard to explain, especially the emotions directly related to what "home" is. As I saw my friends come home while I was in Utah for spring term I experienced a different version of home. Walking and talking with Jordan was incredibly familiar; we didn't skip a beat. Watching Matthew interact with his old roommates and talking with him one-on-one was so comforting; in so many ways little had changed. But in so many ways a lot had changed as well. We're all different but also the same. Two years changed us but I also think it made us realize even more so how "home" is not the place but the people.
And while those freshman friends make college feel like home, there are plenty of people I met while they were gone that make me feel at home. The boys of Fiery Passion. The girls across the hall in apartment #2. Carson & Kaitlin from Italian. Mckenna. Jeff, and sometimes even his crazy roommates. James, Brooke's husband of almost one year(!) And most recently Cameron for starting Doctor Who night.
In about a year or so I won't be a college student anymore. It's probable that I won't reside in Utah, nor will many of my friends who made it into a home at all, but that's okay. Utah itself isn't all that special. Utah is special because of the people I met and learned to love, people I will always continue to know and love. Without those people Utah would mean nothing to me. The great thing about having met people from all over the United States is the fact that home is wherever we happen to meet again.
I'd also like to mention that this my 300th post on this blog. Incredible. Three hundred posts, some more intricate and thought-provoking than others, that's for sure. I'm not sure if I'll get to 300 more but you never know.
Last YouTube video I watched: Meyers Leonard Highlight Mix