I moved out of Yosemite Tower 6 almost a month ago.
After a grueling process of packing every single thing I had managed to cram into my 8×19 ft. dorm room and soliciting help from my roommate and whoever was left in our tower to help me transport it all from our 3rd floor room out to the parking lot, I drove the 3 hours home (by myself, which I have discovered I love to do), and finally made it back.
While writing that last bit, I was going to say “back home”, but it feels wrong to say that.
I don’t have one home now. If I did, how could I possibly choose?
Sunnyvale? San Luis Obispo?
Upon coming back I was conflicted about not knowing where I felt more at home. I felt like calling one my home would betray the memories I created while living at the other.
“Quite the internal conflict, Mal”, you might be sarcastically thinking to yourself.
But understand this: When you live in one town for 18 years and one house for 15 of those years… any move is a big move, even if it’s just 3.5 hours south.
Moving to San Luis Obispo was a huge deal for me and this summer is my first time being back in the Bay for more than four weeks since I started college.
You see, I’m home, but when I leave for SLO again in less than two months, I’ll be home again.
“Home” does not need to be a single place. It’s a label that can be used when you talk about anywhere where you truly do feel at home.
The town I lived in for 18 years.
The town I fell in love with over the past 10 months.
I feel at home in both cities and I’m very blessed to have it that way.
The summer before I moved into my dorm room at Cal Poly I convinced myself I wasn’t very fond of where I grew up. It was “home”, sure, but it wasn’t a home I felt very interested in staying in. I was so eager to leave.
But of course, within just one month at Poly I began to miss Sunnyvale and I began to crave and appreciate little aspects about it.
The incredible cultural diversity, the special food places that only exist there, most of my best friends in close proximity, the familiar buildings and shops and streets, the hills and sunsets and viewpoints.
I became extremely homesick after those first four weeks, which I honestly thought would never happen.
I wanted to go back for my high school’s Homecoming, but didn’t. I wanted to go visit my parents, but had to wait until Thanksgiving break. I came home for Winter break of course, but then I had to suffer from mono, so it wasn’t exactly an “ideal” break.
As much as I missed my original home, this forced distance and time away made me start to connect with this new area I was living in.
I had already explored and began adoring SLO county during that first quarter, despite my homesickness, but I never truly began to understand how lucky I was to live in paradise until January 21st, my birthday.
I had a crush on this guy and I got pretty much rejected on my birthday, after a good three weeks of being engrossed with him.
I got over it another three weeks later, so all in all it wasn’t that big of a deal. However, it was at the time.
A big enough deal that the cement walls of my dorm tower felt too tight to contain my emotions and any human interaction could greatly irritate me. The only option felt like getting out.
I hiked Cal Poly’s famous “P”. At night. Alone.
Probably not my smartest or most responsible idea, but a good one nonetheless. Because being completely out of breath, out of patience for the world, and out of sight from anyone allowed me to simply stop… and that was it. That moment.
After I realized how beautiful my new home was, I no longer felt like my current problems had any significance. Sure, the 5 minute cry helped too, but it was mostly just that view that gave me a new perspective.
I opened my eyes and finally saw all that I was living in proximity to.
San Luis Obispo perfectly fits that cheesy-sounding description of a beautiful little town. Clear blue skies, warm weather with a slight breeze, rolling green hills, endless nature trails and hikes, lush fields filled with different crops, gorgeous beaches less than ten minutes away, plus a cute and fun downtown that has the most amazing Farmer’s Market every Thursday night.
After that night San Luis Obispo was home.
Not “another home”, not “my second home”.
And right now I’m finishing up writing this post, on my bed, also at home.