Debra Swersky
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Home & Heart


They say, "home is where the heart is." Simple! Yet, so often the phrase gets thrown around when trying to define where "home" is. Is it where you grew up? Is it where you most recently lived? Is it where your family is currently living? Is it a physical entity, a figure of speech, or an emotion? It's so simple, yet so complex.

Recently, I read a post about the concept of "home" from one of my undergraduate women's leadership scholars. She talked about all of the locations that she has called and is calling "home"... I was inspired to write my own definition of "home" as I travel abroad with the love of my life for the first time only to return to our new apartment in Dallas... apparently we're calling this new apartment "home" (until we otherwise name it Cloud9.1 or Cloud10 or Cloud9.TX).

So... where is "home" for me? Well, I grew up in New York in a house that was recently torn down. The street is still there, but all of the houses (except for two or three) have been renovated. Unfortunately, I can't call that home. Nothing looks the same. My mom now lives in a neighboring town and my older sister is situated just a few blocks away. It's where I go when I'm visiting them, but I can't really call it my home. I think I've been known to call it "visiting family." The physical "home" that I lived in while in Boston (Cloud9) is now inhabited by other tenants and I don't have access to the building, so as much as I would like to call Boston "home" I can't.  Needless to say, answering the common conversation-starter, "Where are you from?" while traveling abroad has been quite challenging for me.

But, as we've traveled from location-to-location, hotel-to-hotel, B&B-to-B&B, I've found myself referring to each location we check into as "home" and have paused myself each time to ask myself, "Why?" As I read my undergraduate's post I thought of the phrase, "home is where the heart is" and something clicked. I'm traveling with the love of my life: my heart.

This makes sense to me... when I was at Binghamton, "home" was where my family was living. As an undergraduate, "visiting family" was "home." That's where my heart was. It never occurred to me that "home" would be anywhere else other than where my mom was living. Yet, with all of my travels this year, and the subsequent change in my physical "home" I've come to realize the change in my language and the emotional response. 

Wherever I go with the love of my life I'll find myself at "home."

Debra Swersky