As a child, I never really explored much of the city. For much of my school life, I'd go from home to school and then straight back home. In high school, sometimes I would go to the mall nearby with friends or walk around the neighborhood surrounding campus, but that was pretty much it. I didn't start discovering San Francisco until I moved away for college. My dad would send me copies of local San Francisco magazines, and it was on those pages that I discovered the city that I've lived in for so long. Every time I came back for a visit, I'd insist on trying out a new coffee shop or browsing a small boutique on a street I've never heard of before. When I moved back to the city after graduating, I couldn't imagine living anywhere else.
Things started changing after I got married and moved out of my parents' apartment. Maybe it was the city that started changing, but I believe I changed too. I kept reading story after story of long-time San Francisco residents and businesses being forced out of the buildings they've occupied for years because they couldn't keep up with the soaring rent prices. Back at our apartment, the idea of buying a home instead of renting an apartment kept cropping up until I couldn't ignore it anymore.
After the move, I started to think more about the meaning of a home. My dad always talked about how the apartment I grew up in was so small, but the size of my apartment never really bothered me at all. I always think fondly about that space, and I always love going back to see my parents. After visiting Nathan in New York a few times, it became clear to me that he feels quite at home there, despite the fact that he didn't grow up in New York. Although I'm still adjusting, I can say I feel comfortable in the house I now call home.
Maybe home is the feeling I get when I see my family and my friends. Maybe it's what I feel when I've settled down in my favorite cafe with a cup of coffee and a good book. Maybe it's not about where I am, but about how I'm feeling, and figuring out what or who makes me feel that way.