Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Home for the Holidays?

I haven't been home for the holidays in literally years now. Heck, I haven't been home for years now. Last time I was back in Hawai'i was for a friend's wedding, back in Labor Day weekend of 2002. But the fact of the matter is, it hasn't been home since well before 2002.

There was a time in my life when I would get homesick over the holidays. When I first got to college I obviously couldn't afford to trek between Honolulu and Philadelphia over Thanksgiving (and expect to get back in time to study for finals). I remember being jealous of my friends who lived close enough to their families that they could drive home for Thanksgiving, stay a day or two, and return in time to cram for finals. Being with my family for Thanksgiving was never a realistic option.

But at some point during college I came to realize that, while I miss my childhood and the memories of frolicking around Hawai'i -- including the trials and tribuluations of high school -- I don't really miss my family all that much. I sound evil when I say that, and I certainly feel awful for thinking it, but it's true.

The fact is, my parents haven't been the happiest, most loving people to be around for quite a while now. It was, in fact one of the reasons I started deciding not to go home for Christmas -- then even for the summer -- was because home stopped being home. When you go from college back to the family that raised you, you kind of look for a return to the nest, surrounded by the comforts that you were used to as a kid. Lately my parents can't stop sniping at each other. At times, the silence in this house is deafening; it sits heavy in the air and stifles the room. You know that uncomfortable silence. Well, it's worse when it's created by your parents.

Somehow I still enjoy Christmas carols extolling the virtues of the loving family and the happy holiday spirit. Songs like No Place Like Home for the Holidays and I'll Be Home For Christmas still make me happy, even if I know that I don't really want to be "home."

Because I've done a pretty good job of establishing my current life -- my current city, my current condo, and, most importantly, my current friends -- as my "home."

Of course, most of my friends here have better families -- "homes" -- to return to during the holidays if they so choose, and many of them do. Which oftentimes can leave me alone with my thoughts at the most magical time of the year.

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