Sometimes All You Need is Home

Sometimes All You Need is Home

I won't lie to you, leaving home isn't easy. When I chose to move to D.C., I chose to leave everything that I knew behind. I walked away from my entire comfort zone; I said good-bye to every familiar face and all of the places I knew. I left my friends, my family, and my university with hopes for amazing experiences and anticipation of incredible adventures.

Sometimes though, no matter how perfectly a new life is falling into place, there’s a sense of sadness about what we might have left behind. It seems so silly, that while everything was going right for me, I still find myself wondering if I made the right decision in coming here. For me, just being away from my home has changed me more than this city and the experiences themselves. I have a new understanding of the importance of family--because I have never needed my family more than I have these last three months. I have had times here in D.C., where I felt alone in this big world -- times when I was terrified from the uncertainty of my future, and times where I was exhausted to tears from a hard week. When I have needed them, my family has always been there to listen. My family has supported me through the stretches of days when I have no time to call and catch up, and the days I call ten times because I just need to talk to someone. My family has been my constant source of happiness and support.

When you decide to leave home and be completely on your own, hard times seem to hit even harder. There have been moments where I felt so lost, I couldn't explain what I was going through to anyone else, and in those moments I had to rely on the one person who knows me best--me. That is how you grow in ways you never thought possible; you have days where you don't think you can go on being brave, and then you do it anyway. This is life, it won't ever stop going on—you just have to always keep pushing through. It has been these challenging, at-my-breaking-point moments that have changed who I am. I don't know if come December I will even recognize the girl who moved in late August. I think that girl is gone forever—the Josie who didn’t know how to be strong enough.

This past weekend, I flew back home to Raleigh, North Carolina to be with my family. It was everything a trip back home should be like; I had all of my comforts again. I forgot about my responsibilities waiting for me back in D.C. and only focused on enjoying my short time in my home. There was good food to be eaten, much deserved relaxation, and a lot of catching up to do, and we did just that.

My Mom and I


On Monday, I was in denial that my time at home was ending. When my Mom asked me what time my flight was, I replied, "What flight?" I was consumed with a quiet sadness on the ride to the airport, and the realness set in while waiting in the terminal. When my flight lifted off the ground, I closed my eyes and pretended I was only going back to school, or to my Dad's--somewhere where my friends and family were. As I flew over the clouds that night, the sun was just setting and the sky was illuminated with every color of the rainbow--it's the kind of beauty you never get used to, even when you’ve flown hundreds of times like I have. As my flight approached Reagan National Airport, our plane descended in altitude and I began to recognize things below. With my forehead pressed against the cool plastic, I grew excited as I saw things; the elegance of George Washington's campus, the fountain outside Farmers Fishers Bakers turned into an ice-skating rink, runners along the Potomac, the monuments--so many places I was familiar with. There was this moment where I wish I could have frozen time...a moment where my little window overlooked--all at once--the Capitol building, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, each one looking too unbelievable themselves to share the view with anything else. Each white-marbled structure kissed with pink and orange tones of the sunset--it was breathtaking. It was right then, that my heart betrayed my mind and I realized that I had been wrong; I did have comfort in this city. In fact, I know and love so many things about this beautiful city. I know the streets in my neighborhood, I know the metro stations, I know the employees at the Starbucks on 1401 New York Avenue, I know my classmates, coworkers, neighbors, roommates. I have so much love for the people here, all of the places I have been, and every experience I have made that I will take with me when I leave. Washington, D.C. is just another home I have. And just like leaving North Carolina, it took leaving this city to realize how much I love everything here, and how much I will miss it when it everything ends. I am so thankful I could make it home for the weekend to see my family. I am also just as thankful for what going home made me realize about how precious my time left here truly is. In this last month, I will try to focus on the places and people here, give them everything I have to give, and not to take one single day for granted.


"Home wasn't a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go."

-Sarah Dessen

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