Eventually you realize

Every now and then, this town catches me by surprise.

The first six months I lived here, I hated it and wanted to go 'home' - home, of course, being the quiet swaddle of friends and familiarity that was my collegiate life in Arkansas. But, with everyone graduated and moved away, 'home,' as I remembered it, no longer existed.

Without my friends, Conway was nothing but a collection of streets that connected a series of dormitories.

For the first six months, Huntsville consisted of a collection of streets that connected nothing to nothing, with many people (none of whom knew I existed) zooming back and forth to places that I didn't know about.

Then you begin to find things.

I found a yarn shop. A bakery. We acquired felines. Eventually, we bought a house, and began to make friends. A couple of years later, I find myself calling up friends on a Saturday and saying, "I'm trying out a new curry recipe tonight - want to have some?" and ending up feeding eight for dinner.

Then, one night, you find yourself driving down the freeway on a foggy night. You catch yourself staring at the sinuous curve of the sodium-vapor lamps on I-565 as it winds its way to the east side of town, and you find yourself realizing that somewhere along the way your heart has softened a bit toward the town that you once thought annoyed you so much.

If you didn't know any better, you might begin to suspect that you might miss this place if you ever moved away from it. Something along the lines of a sneaking suspicion that Jeremy's statement the other night was probably right: every place has its issues, be it house prices, lousy coffee, grumpy inhabitants, or faraway friends.

True, Misty has a point when she notes that most local businesses are ghost towns by 4:30, and that most big concert tours don't come any closer than Nashville or Birmingham. In exchange, we get shockingly reasonable house prices and rush hours that last about fifteen seconds.

Not to mention…I have friends. They like to carve pumpkins; evil pumpkins at that. They take photos of each other. It's just what we do.

Over the course of a couple of years, a social life creeps up on you. Eventually you realize that you're keeping the board games in the common areas of your house because people are likely to show up on any given night, and it's always nice to have something to play.

Eventually you realize that, while you weren't looking, the place you thought you were only marking time in has suddenly become…home.


When I made the very hard decision to leave Furman and transfer back to UAH, meaning having to move back to the town that I swore I would never move back to, I was truly miserable. Over the almost 4 years that I've been back now, though, Huntsville has become more bearable because I have friends here to make it a joy to be in this town that I grew up. Thanks guys for being such good friends.

Any place is what you make of it. I remember when we moved to Mississippi. I went through a pretty tough run of depression, enough that I think my parents thought about having me see someone about it. It took a very long time for me to fit in; when I transferred on to MSMS, I certainly wasn't missed very much by that clannish brood of folks in Forest. Some of them still consider me a part of their family, but most were probably happy to see me leave. I look at Huntsville and see the benefits and the drawbacks. Everyone always claims that "there's nothing to do", but for any UAH student that says that, I'd like to refer them to Starkville, Mississippi, where life does not exist outside of MSU. Right, Rick? The key is to make friends. Alas, I have made so many that it's impossible to see you all at once. :|

Every now and then, I wish I was close enough to pet your cats.

I love DC, but I do miss being close to my parents and the majority of my friends. I also freely recognize that I needed to get out of Huntsville and experience something different. I wasn't planning on snipers and droughts, but that definitely qualifies as different. :)

Sigh... I would read this right now, the day before I go back "home" for two weeks - the place I called home for twenty-seven years out of habit, not out of meaning. And this is... ah, I can't find the words. But thanks (yes, honestly, thanks) for something that will be sitting with me for a little while.

John - Trust me, my cats wish you were close enough to pet them too. We call them "catsluts" for a reason. If someone is quiet and patient like you were with Edmund, they'll trust you pretty quickly. Edmund likes quiet people. :) Heather - I hadn't thought about it this way, but Huntsville was 'home' (as much as any place was) for you. Going away and seeing a different part of the world is, I think, a pretty integral part of growing up. I don't think there are many people who can appreciate the good things about the place they live in without having lived somewhere else for comparison's sake. I wish we had good Indian and Ethiopian restaurants in town. Instead, I'm having to slake my love Indian/Ethiopian food by learning how to cook it myself. You learn to make do. Some places require more making-do than others. I think I'm starting to find the necessary level for Huntsville.

I have variously called Halfmoon Bay, Vancouver and Victoria "Home". Victoria though, is truly where Home is for me. Even though I desperately want/need to leave. I have been here too long, and though I am mostly comfortable with it, I need to go away in order to appreciate it more. There are even some things i have yet to do here, surfing at Tofino and kiteboarding/windsurfing at Nitnat are big on the list... but i need to change my reality in a drastic and uncontrollable way. Soon.

You know, I'm still not sure what I call home. I guess home is where I am right now. In five years?

As sappy is it might sound, to me, home is where Sean is. That old saying, "Home is where the heart is." is extremely true for me. Huntsville is home for me now because Sean's here and I have a good group of friends here. But, if Sean moves, then I know my home will always be wherever he is.

Shmoo... but also quite true. Unfortunately, I haven't had the luxury of living in the same town as Jessica for the past 4.5 years. For the first 12 of my first 16 years, Gautier, MS and the house on Grandview Dr. was home. That place I think will always hold a very special place in my heart, but alas it is no longer home. It's not even owned by our family anymore since my parents decided to move. As a result, it's no longer going "home" when I travel down there, but instead it's going to visit my parents at their place. While I was at MSMS, I found myself referring to it as home sometimes, which seemed odd, except that I lived in that dorm room for the majority of two years of my life. I met Jessica and Geof while I was there. That was a good time. Through college in Starkville, I never really felt like I had settled into the "home" setting. This probably had something to do with the fact that I was moving every semester. The longest I lived in a single place was 1-year, but that was the last year and I was already geared up to move out here to Huntsville. And now I'm here in Huntsville. It seems like I keep having to remind myself of this one thing... "School is over with. This is the rest of your life." This is becoming home. It's been since my time at MSMS that I have been able to just laugh and enjoy the company of a good sized group of friends. And Geof, you're absoultely right. This place looks like Vegas in comparison to Starkville. But then again, they don't have a zebra striped short bus ferrying people to/from the bars :-)

Oh, man, Rick, you're making me think of the "Home is hell is home is MSMS" sketch that Seth Misenar and I used to run through from time to time. Good times, good times. See, now if you'd listened to me and come to UAH ... stupid juniors! [I know, you wouldn't have stayed close to Jess, and well, that would have been Detrimental!]

Now I feel like crying! :) I've lived in Oxford most of my life. Lived in Good Ol' Ardmore, TN for about a year and a half, then back to Oxford, then went to Columbus for high school, and back to Oxford again. Leaving permanently will be different, but I already have friends there, and Rick's there and it's within driving distance from home! :)