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Main Street; Morrison, Illinois

Is home the same place you grew up?

Hopefully, you don't think the question is stupid, mundane, or trivial. I think it's important because I think most people are searching for home. Current refugees are in search of a place where good wins out and where they can put down roots and live in peace. Soldiers fight for our homeland. We lock doors at night because we want to protect loved ones and because we want to rest at home.

Yet, my current home is not where I grew up--though Morrison remains my hometown. My stepfather's real estate office is on Main Street, right across from where the bakery used to be--where my grandfather bought me donuts every Friday morning during my middle school and high school years. There is an annual 'paint the town' event on Main Street and it's where homecoming parades marched down and I remember the storefronts being decorated for some home basketball games.

One night, I was at Joe's Pizza (Joe has since moved his family business to Clinton, Iowa, and it's still one of my favorite pizza places in the world) and due home at 11 p.m. I was on foot and 2 miles from home and the clock in the restaurant read 10:40 p.m.. I had to be home in 20 minutes. So, I did what any freshman in high school my age would do who was trying to get home in time to avoid getting punished. I ran as fast as I could.

And I made it.

A few years later, I was running with a friend through the city streets of London, England. We thought it would be fun to race. He is British and from the West Indies. I am caucasian and an American.

"Your country wins all kinds of track medals, let's go," he said as we took off sprinting.

"But, i was not on any of those teams," I yelled running beside him.

We sprinted through Camden streets to his flat. I felt at home. And while I have spent about 2 years of my life in the United Kingdom, it's not where I grew up. It's where I became more of a grown up.

And today, my worldview is a combination of every address, every place, every idea that has allowed me to feel at home. From Main Street in Middle America to Bedford Place in London, England, and many places since, I am still building this thing called--home.

How about you? Where has home taken you? 

Me? I am still settling in. My worldview continues to grow, albeit deeper moreso than wider. 

You're invited to come over at any time. It's where I am still growing up. 

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As a University director of study abroad in Central Texas, ideas and stories matter. These reflections are for pilgrims making progress.