From California to Rhode Island, Bwog talks about what we miss from home.
New York is the greatest city in the world. Let’s be honest, it’s the reason most of us came to Columbia. But for all of the wonderful, beautiful things about it, sometimes it’s hard not to miss home. Bwog staff comes from every corner of the US and beyond, and here are some things we miss about our respective homes:
We miss the outdoors, such as…
Firefly season and chilling outside where all you hear are crickets and cicadas! I miss the smell of bug spray, and the anticipation of going outside for night as I lace up my sneakers and run downstairs! I miss the sound of my sliding door, and the crank of the umbrella that’s on top of my patio table! And I miss hearing the poor sound quality of the soccer game my dad was always streaming alongside the sizzling of the grill. I miss a classic suburban summer.
Doing homework in my backyard hammock by the lake on the first really warm days of spring. It’s quieter than any New York City location, sometimes I see Great Blue Herons, and the mosquitos don’t come out until May or June. I’d wear a big sweater and sometimes still have to drag an old comforter out to keep me warm if it’s breezy.
WeChat Pay and the convenience of the Chinese Uber– Didi. You don’t need to bring anything but a phone when you go out, because you can do everything through your phone. Places don’t even take cards or cash anymore. And calling an “uber” home is always less than $5.
Fall in rural Pennsylvania – haunted hayrides and train rides, apple-picking, open air craft markets, and fairs! Crunchy leaves everywhere you go.
Watching the sun set over flat flat Illinois land. The sunset lasts for almost an hour from start to finish. Right after the sun clears the horizon, if you run up a hill or drive up a highway overpass, you can see it set again, just for a moment.
Fresh rain at home has a particular smell. I think it’s probably partly all the trees and partly something in the air but I never smell it here because it’s always so dirty. It was sprinkling just now and I thought I smelled it for a second but then it was something else.
Every time I see a mountain I think of Mt. Hood from home, and BIG EVERGREENS.
Also rain and seeing umbrellas. Umbrellas are much less common in Portland so every time I see people whip theirs out for one (1) drop of sky water I’m reminded that I’m quite far from home.
Illegally jumping off 30 foot bridges into active harbors in the middle of the night. I haven’t yet matched that adrenaline rush.
I miss waking up early to drive to the beach and watch the sunrise over the horizon. The beach is calm and the sand is cool beneath you in the morning, and the seagulls are starting to come out and look for food. It’s nice to get there and enjoy the quiet before the tourists arrive a few hours later.
…and more: year-round warm weather in California, Philadelphia soft pretzels, the local farmer’s market, Rita’s water ice, sunbathing with chickens…
We miss the indoors, such as…
Being in restaurants makes me miss being a wharf rat. I’m from a coastal New England town where the population quadruples from winter to summer. Wharf rats were the myriad of teenagers that worked summer jobs in the restaurants, shops, and tourist boats that occupied the wharfs downtown. Me and my friends would meet up after our shifts and complain about the shitty tourists we encountered, but the large tips they left behind. We made the magic happen. I miss being a part of this bizarre undercurrent of teenage labor that fueled weddings, bachelorette parties, and family vacations.
Being driven to my high school at night to go to school events because it feels so different when its emptier than usual. You can access the lockers, but the hallways aren’t lit, and none of the classrooms are open. You could still walk the same figure-8 around the school as you did during the day, though. It was just weird being in a place that felt frozen in time.
Having nowhere to go, so just sitting in a grocery store parking lot in my car with my best friend and talking for hours, about nothing in particular.
Every March my hometown bakery starts making and selling Cake Eggs leading up to Easter. They’re the size of your palm, made of dense, sweet vanilla cake and surrounded by a hard, melt-in-your-mouth white-chocolatey shell, in every pastel color, sometimes striped. I have never ever found anything that tastes remotely similar or remotely as good.
Coming home at night after a dinner/night out when you walk into the dark house and know exactly where to go to turn the lights on. You put away your keys and coat and all and you know that in 30 minutes you will have showered and be in bed and there’s nothing else to have to do.
Waking up at 11 from bright sunbeams coming into my room and finding no one else is in the house. On those days I love singing, clapping, and yelling at the walls, or just generally being loud. I love taking as long as I want to shower, make breakfast, and read alone on the porch.
I miss having color on my damn walls. I am so sick of white walls! I have such a perfect blue in my bedroom at home.
…and more: a favorite bar, HeyTea, my bedroom carpet, Del’s frozen lemonade, real darkness, real silence…
We miss our family…
Going home at night after a long trip away and falling asleep while the road curves both on the highway and right before the car would turn onto my street. It’s weird that I have to get myself home every night, and I can’t just fall asleep until the driver opens the door to my dark driveway.
The sound of my brothers playing basketball in the driveway! The dribbles kind of echoed against our garage doors and it got really annoying but was such a hometown staple. If baseball games were being played by our local team in town, you could sometimes kind of here the mumble of the announcer or the soft hum of applause after a good play from our front yard.
My grandmother’s cooking, specifically really good pasta. Watery Ferris pasta has nothing on my grandma’s old Italian recipes that no one knows the name of at this point because they’ve just been passed down via oral tradition.
…and more: tamales, speaking my native language, my dog, my parents…
We miss the sights and sounds as we drive, such as…
On the route to the town over you drive past a farm in between all the woods and there’s this one Texas longhorn bull who is just incredible to see if you get the chance. He’s not always out there, but when he is it is a sight to behold. Not to get super pastoral, but yeah, I miss cows.
Driving 90 miles an hour on a farm road at 12am with friends while blasting Elton John. It’s something I did a lot in the summer and has become one of my favorite pastimes and memories to date.
The drive from my house to school. By the end of high school, I had figured out how to time every stoplight, every intersection, and every twist and turn so that I could turn a 15-minute ride into a 8-minute one. I miss being so comfortable and so grounded; I miss knowing and understanding my surroundings.
The ritual of running errands in town. Picking the songs for the car ride, getting to ring the bell at the post office, seeing everyone’s mom at the gas station, reading the announcements on the board in front of my high school, the bagels and store-made deli meat I eat in the car as soon as I’m done shopping.
I miss this driving over the MacArthur Causeway which connects downtown Miami to South Beach. It’s a tall long bridge so you can see the lights of South Beach and the ocean beyond and water below as you drive.
…and more: driving to the mountains, driving for hours and only seeing corn, curvy backcountry drives home, playing the radio with the windows down in the summer…
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