Friday, January 21, 2011

The House on Vista Del Lago

"A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it." --George Moore

I have received many blessings in my lifetime, all of which I am incredibly grateful for. But by far the most amazing blessing in my life is my family. No matter how many places I have visited, no matter how many different people I have met, I still think that my family is the most wonderful, hysterical, amazing family ever.

Of course, I haven't always been able to recognize the blessing that was always right in front of my face. And I did my fair share of rebelling against my parents. I ran away once...for about 30 minutes. It was summer and still light out and I ran through my neighborhood feeling like I had gotten the sweetest revenge. After about 15 minutes of running around, I didn't know where to go, so I hid behind a rock until my mother found me about 15 minutes later. Not too long before or after that, my sister and I were so mad at my father one day that we popped the screen out of the window of her second-story bedroom and went out onto the roof. The idea was to make him worry about us, and therefore, stop being mad. Dangerous, yes, but it also backfired. Once dad found out that we had gone out on the roof, whatever disagreement we were having before got much larger.

By the time I went to college, however, I not only learned some new, much-needed rebellious tricks (nose rings and tattoos) but also learned how to appreciate my parents much more. Suddenly, dad was funny (at least 25 % of the time, he was) and mom was inspirational. Family dinners were the highlight of the week. Spending time at home on a Sunday was a special treat.

Despite that fact that I basically did the worst thing that a child can do to a parent (moving to a very far-away foreign country), the older I have become, the more I have really understood what an amazing childhood my parents gave my sister and I. We have amazing memories, both of the mundane things and of some crazy family adventures and, I think, we both have pretty good heads on our shoulders. I was lucky and privileged but never spoiled rotten. I was taught what is important (family, love, education, responsibility, kindness and thoughtfulness) and what is not (big cars, big houses, designer brands and, generally materialism). Plus, I grew up feeling loved and supported no matter what I did (excluding, of course, sneaking onto the roof).

Now, no matter how far away I get from home or how long I am gone for, I always come home to the same loving parents, the same cozy home and the same hilarious family dinners (lesson: don't tell jokes to mom when she's had a beer or two before dinner...she'll need a new pair of pants). Maybe it's that coziness; maybe it's being with people who love you unconditionally; maybe its just dad's bad dad-jokes; but, whatever it is, something about being home always helps me recharge my batteries. I feel revitalized and my spirit feels renewed. At home, everything falls into place and I know just who I am and what I want. How blessed I am to have a place that I can always go to find my footing. Plus, of course, there is J.J. Who could forget about him?

So, this is a letter to Auburn and to my mom and my dad. It is to say thank you--thank you so, so much--and to express my love. My family is amazing, my hometown is amazing and both are an integral part of who I am. I couldn't be more grateful!

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