We’ve all heard the common cliche phrase “there’s no place like home,” but I have never felt the true sentimental value of being “home.” To me, my home is not defined by the physical space of my room or house, but rather the collective feelings of being with my friends, spending time at my favorite shops and restaurants, and looking outside to a familiar environment.
I had never really felt the feeling of “home” until I went back to my home in Sunnyvale for the first time this past Thanksgiving break for two days. I grew up my entire life in Sunnyvale, a once suburban town turned into a city in the Bay Area.
As my time in college and away from home passed, I found myself missing an essential part of my identity that has been with me up until now. I missed the availability of milk tea everywhere, walking the streets of downtown Mountain View late at night with friends, and hanging out in cars when there was absolutely nothing to do.
My identity has always been associated with the Bay Area culture of startups, technology, prominent Asian culture, and even fashion trends. Although I enjoy exploring Los Angeles, I feel like a part of me has been left behind and compromised once I moved away for college.
We all know the feeling of appreciating something you once had once it’s gone, but we don’t REALLY know until we are truly separated from it. It’s different knowing that I can’t just go home whenever I want, and that the friends and places I grew up loving are not readily available to me.
Even though I was only home for two days, I can honestly say that I have never enjoyed being in the Bay Area as much as I did those two days. It’s especially ironic because I used to always complain about not having anything to do and that my city is boring, but being away from that Silicon Valley bubble for a few months made me appreciate the place I call home.
It’s a weird feeling: being home. The place feels familiar to you, yet new at the same time. Things change without you; New stores open, new houses are built, and everything looks different, yet still recognizable. You become excited to go places you became sick of. You see home with a new perspective. I felt like I was living a double life: one in the present and one in the past.
Going home felt like I was meeting a long lost friend who I had not seen in over 20 years. But once reunited, you don’t feel like you were apart for so long anymore. Your relationship continues just like it used to be in the past. It’s like pressing play on a paused movie.
Returning to the place where I have lived for almost 18 years was a refreshing experience that I would not trade for anything in the world. After all, I did pay for a one-hour flight to San Jose and back just to be home for two days.
It’s interesting how a complete change in environment, even just for a couple of months, can completely change the perspective I once had for 18 years of my life. I think I can now say I know what home feels like. There really is no place like home.