Conflicting Landscapes

Home is home, it’s irreplaceable and at least for me, it gives me that familiar feeling of knowing everything around me. Moving someplace new and trying to call that place home has been hard for me. I still don’t call my current town “home” even though I’ve lived here for over two years. Part of this may be because I’m moving again next year. So, I reluctantly call Long Island “home” because that is where my family lives, where I went to high school, where I know all of the streets and my old running routes.

There is a big difference between home on Long Island and my temporary home in North Carolina. I love driving home to Long Island because it means a road trip (read: 600 miles, 11 hours) and I have my favorite landmarks along the way, including the Verrazano Bridge from Staten Island to Long Island. But as we approach closer and closer to home, including the last five minutes, I can only think about how ugly the scenery is: strip malls, new construction, and unattractive existing buildings. (This isn’t the case for all of Long Island; I just grew up in an unattractive town.) I love to be home, but only because it’s home. I wouldn’t choose to go there otherwise. Yet, driving home to North Carolina, everything just gets prettier as we travel further south. Driving into town with all of the pine trees and the winding roads, it’s impossible to think anything other than how beautiful it is around here: cute houses, long leaf pine trees, that Carolina blue sky, and sunshine.

Occasionally I catch glimpses here in North Carolina that will remind me of the good parts of Long Island, like driving up a hill on my way home from work where the elevation over the trees looks like a certain familiar road on Long Island. And when I’m home on Long Island, I’d much rather be here in North Carolina when I have to run errands or formulate a long running route because it’s just easier here. As different as these two places are, they do seem to reflect each other from time to time. That aspect is comforting sometimes, revealing that no matter where you live, it can become home eventually and the unfamiliar will become familiar to you.

My reactions continue to surprise me on every trip. I don’t want to leave my family and my old friends to return 600 miles away, but I don’t want to stay on Long Island. If only my family would move with me, then I wouldn’t have this problem. I think that choosing a place to live is sometimes a compromise. North Carolina is not perfect for me, but the less populated areas and the beautiful landscapes sort of make up for those 600 miles. I hope that someday I can find a beautiful place that I want to call home.

Does anyone have conflicting feelings of home?

2 thoughts on “Conflicting Landscapes

  1. Jen G says:

    oh my gosh! i know exactly what you mean. (sorry for the delayed reaction, i got behind on reading posts over the thanksgiving break, and now i am kind of reading the ones i missed in reverse order….)

    this happens to me every time i come home. it is funny because before i went to college, i never really thought about it. but taking classes in architecture and urban planning, and then working in preservation, is really an eye-opener. you look at the strip malls and endless parking lots and it’s like………..ugh. although of course i love home because it’s home! but i wonder how much it would feel like home if my family wasn’t there. i think i have strong attachments to downtown port jeff because i associate it with going out for special occasions, and the high school track because of all the hours i spent training with my teammates there, and the beaches of course (cedar, etc.). but to be honest i don’t really feel attached to most of port jeff station, or even to my street in particular.

    i am also trying to convince my family to move. i think i want to live in boston, so i brought it up recently. but they won’t move for a while yet. of course when i think of actually not having our house and yard to go home to….it is a little weird and sad.

    if only our houses could have been somewhere pretty/historic, like the nice parts of stony brook. 🙂

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