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Thoughts of Home

December 4, 2012

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Like many of our corps members, I returned to my childhood home for Thanksgiving.  For me, that is Cary, North Carolina. I connected with old friends, dined with my family, and enjoyed some nostalgia at my alma mater, Chapel Hill.

As I relaxed one evening with my friend, we started talking about when “home” is no longer an accurate word.  Is North Carolina my home?  Or is New Orleans?  I feel connected to both places, but is that feeling enough to call a place your home?  I decided that neither place was my true home.

Us corps members are all at that age where we are seeking out our homes.  Service at City Year really gives perspective about the word “home.”  All of us leave them to serve a new community.  We learn about a new one that we do not necessarily connect to. We are put face to face with students and people who have claimed the word and their place in the world.

In some ways, I envy those people who grow up in a place and never leave.  I always fantasized about a nomadic life:  living in many places, seeing the world.  There is something to be said about having roots though.  Having a connection to a place that keeps bringing you back, no matter how many hurricanes, how much crime, and how much bad press the place may endure.  To have that feeling that nowhere but a certain place can be home, and living anywhere else just feels wrong.    It is a quality that is truly admirable in New Orleanians.

For many people, returning to service after a break at home is difficult.  Some Corps Members never make it back after returning home.  To them, the brief hiatus in a new city felt wrong, and they realize that they belong back home.   In that regard, perhaps New Orleans is becoming my home.  Staying in North Carolina felt odd, like I was a stranger, and returning to New Orleans was a comfort.

So New Orleans may not be my home yet, but it is getting there.  I missed the city while I was gone.  Even though it isn’t as beautiful as Cary aesthetically, nor is it as clean or quiet, I am glad to call the flat, rowdy place my own.  One thing is for certain, I cannot take another extended period away.  I am staying here for Christmas Break.

 MHoMichael Ho joined City Year New Orleans for his second consecutive year of service on August 1st. As Service Leader, he manages all data that comes through the site and acts as the Site Literacy Lead. 

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