I've lived a lot of places. Nowhere exotic, just numerous towns and cities across America ranging from Alabama to Alaska and multiple points in-between. Some I've liked, others I couldn't wait to get away from. A few of them even earned the designation "home."
I've lived in Michigan for 15 years now. I've made some very good friends, had a nice life, gotten a good education. But never once, in that time, have I crossed the state line back into Michigan and felt the "I'm home" ping. On the weekends that I head back over I announce "I'm heading home this weekend," and my colleagues say "have a good trip home" and so I go...home.
I didn't give it much thought, really. Just figured I'd already called so many places "home" that the concept no longer really registered. A state of mind/where the heart is/pick another cliche and you've got it.
I spent this past weekend at home, enjoying my family, my pets, being in my familiar space. As always, I had just unpacked when it was time to re-load the car and head back through Canada and on to my apartment here in upstate NY. Canada is always a drudge drive. Farm country is farm country no matter what country you're in.
The Rainbow Bridge at Niagra Falls was clear, which makes the driving easier--when the border waits are long, I lose patience pretty quickly. I've been through enough by now that they scan my passport, ask a quick random question and send me on my way. It's waiting to get to the booth that takes so long.
So I crossed into New York, headed toward Buffalo, and mentally prepared myself for the two hour drive to my apartment. I zipped through the EZ-Pass line onto the Grand Island bridge and then I felt it. A little...ping. A little ping followed by a warm, unexpected sense of "yeah. I'm home."