“There’s no place like home.”

“Home is where the heart is.” I know it’s cliche, (and I hate cliches,) but there is no phrase I believe in more. I assume that, for most 19-year-olds, “home” is the house they grew up in, the house where one or both of their parents live. Or most of the 19-year-olds I know.

But for me, home has only ever been one place: State College, PA. 13 years, two houses, six schools, three significant deaths, one first love, one depression diagnosis, and countless dance recitals, football games, and friendships make my first, and only, hometown. Looking at it today, the college town surrounded by farm country is flawless, and shines like my own personal Oz; get there, and everything will be all right.
It wasn’t always this way though. As an insomniac from ages 10-15, State College was as black-and-white as Dorothy’s Kansas. And just like the naive farm girl, I didn’t know what I had until it was gone. After moving to Allentown, PA, a few weeks before my sophomore year of high school, I saw that starting over completely is not as easy as it may seem. But slowly, acquaintances turned into friends, a second love began, and my depression even started to wane. Maybe this could be home now.
At least, that’s what I tried to convince myself. But here I am, back in Allentown for the summer after my first year of college, and I have to say I hate it already. I’ve tried to reconnect with the friends that got me through high school, but none seem too eager. My mom says to just keep trying, but who wants to be that annoying friend who always wants to know what everyone’s doing so they can join in? Not me. I’m starting to believe that maybe what I had with these people wasn’t friendship at all, but in fact, situational.
Can you really ever have more than one home? My very closest friends still live in State College, and I find myself more eager by the day to drive that 180 mile yellow brick road. We all just want to find acceptance, find those people that make us happy to be ourselves. That’s what I think home is, and for now, I only have one.
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