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Alice Yang
Yang is a contributing columnist for the Fort Bend Star.
Alice Yang is a student at Columbia University. She can be reached at gy2151@ Columbia.edu.
This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.

Home is where the heart is
(Justine, Melissa, Scott - this oneís for you)


It must have been a sight: ten in the morning, two suitcases, a girl standing against a sun-streamed airport window, tears in her eyes. This is probably a typical scene of a kid going off to college for the very first time: saying goodbye to parents, leaving a hometown behind, stepping out into the unknown. But for me, it was the opposite; I was crying because I was leaving school for home.

It wasnít for the city. It wasnít for the campus. It wasnít even for my beloved dorm room (which by the way I had decked out with hanging lanterns and lopsided paintings). It was for my friends. Three months of not seeing each other, not watching TV and eating dinners together, not gathering in my small room for late-night movies or spending way too much of our free time beating each other at video games.

Our last day of goodbye was like out of a movie. Scott was leaving first, as we all stayed out in the pouring rain to hail a NYC taxi. Then, Melissaís turn: a quick-rushed goodbye with her holding on to my orchid, promising to take care of the flower this summer because she lived nearby. And finally, just me and Justine left; we rented a movie and ate big Chipotle burritos until her dad called to pick her up at night.

I was the only one left now, and the twilight hours of sitting alone in my empty New York City dorm to arriving at my unused Sugar Land bedroom went by in a dizzying daze. Last minute packing, morning taxi, heaving luggage, checking in, waiting, crying, flying, landing, driving, arriving, and finally, home.

Home? What really is that abstract concept that makes a house an idea, that unifies and comforts people at the end of a long day? What Iíve gone through, what Iím still going through now, is not just a first-trip-back college studentís temporary displacement. Sure there are the physical aspects: the different cities, the different lifestyles; now back in Sugar Land, I even have a curfew again! But itís something deeper and more elusive: my whole idea of home has been discombobulated.

Growing up as a daughter, as a dependent, as a biologically-accepted family unit, Iíve never questioned the idea. When people asked where Iím from or whereís my home, it was naturally, and automatically, Sugar Land. Now, after living a year in New York with friends as close as family, with friends who I got to share small daily routines and big intimate secrets, I find myself clarifying that I ďgrew up in Sugar Land, but now live in New York.Ē This need to clarify, the distinction between the childhood-then and the present day-now, made me realize my idea of home is evolving.

Itís not about the different cities either. Cities and houses and places (and dorms) are only the physical locations in which the idea of home can reside. Itís the brain to the mind, the body to the soul. Iíve come to realize that home is where you can come back to at the end of a long day. Itís a solace. And as one of my professors once said, itís the place where you can let go and melt into a puddle on the ground and feel comfortable doing it.

Home is in the people. And Iíve found a precious, precious group of amazing people to share my new home away from my biological home. Most of the time, home and house become one. Other times, the house is just an empty carapace with home nowhere to be found. And finally, the transient souls out there know that home cannot be found under a zip-code; instead, itís in a loved oneís embrace.

Home, is where the heart is.

Alice Yang is a student at Columbia University.
She can be reached at gy2151@ Columbia.edu.

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   Last Update:  August 06, 2008