While reading Eat, Pray, Love I paused to reflect on Felipe's words. He was, of course, speaking to Elizabeth about their relationship, but I found that his statements really encapsulated a lot of what I've learned, or come to understand, about homelands. Throughout the semester we've discussed many different aspects of homelands. We've touched on the fact that the notion of our individual "home" involves our cultures, families, physical location, passions, hates, bodies, ages, state of mind, and more. I think we have certainly established our homelands are more than the physical domiciles where we rest our heads at night. Through reading a variety of literature, but most crystalized in Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love, I have realized that my home is a part of my self, my identity. I carry it with me wherever I go, like a snail. Because we have this ability to bring our homes with us, to carry them on our backs, we transport our unique and varied backgrounds wherever the wind may take us. Elizabeth Gilbert shows us that our homes and our selves can be constantly reinvented. We can take what we like about both, toss away the parts that drag us down, and get on with our lives.
When we go away to college, we create a new home for ourselves. Despite my mother's (loving) rants, "You're not going HOME on Sunday, you're going back to SCHOOL. This is still your home" I really consider Loyola a second home. It's the stuff of corny college brochures, but I miss it when I'm away and feel totally comfortable here. It also has that uniquely home-like quality of irritating me beyond belief at times. This "I need to get away from here for a while" usually arrises conveniently towards the end of the semester. Loyola became a second home because I brought home with me, to Baltimore. I created a physical space, with photographs and decorations, but also brought the same likes, dislikes, habits, and values from my life in New Jersey. I met and made friends with people who shared just enough of the same values to create a common bond. I pursued courses that led me to discover who and what I want to be. Like Gilbert's journey, it was by no means a perfect and seamless transition, but it all worked out in the end.
I find comfort and solace in Felipe's words. Next year will be my senior year at Loyola. That's crazy. I feel like I just got here. I feel like I need to start savoring every moment so I don't miss or regret anything. Even though I know what I want to do career-wise after I graduate, there are still a multitude of unanswered questions. Where will I end up? What will I be teaching? Will I even get a job? Where will I live? I like to think that I carry my home on my back. Wherever I end up, I will be able to make it my home. I'll never be lost, because home will always be with me.