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Published: April 19th 2006
With only 14 days until I leave for S. Korea, I have been busy readying books on Korean history, war, culture, politics, religion, etc. There is little, I find, that can truly prepare me for a place I have never experienced. Here is what has been on my mind these last few days:
“Home is where the heart is.” Or so I have heard.
At one point, after my family moved to Middle Tennessee, I thought I had left my heart in sunny California, somewhere on Glory Lane in a castle made of redwoods or possibly even in a thicket of blackberry bushes stained with memories of long summers and no television. This was my Home.
After I left for College in East Tennessee, I thought that I had left my heart in Murfreesboro, where I had spent the last 6 years with my parents and 5 bothers and sisters. It was there I learned to let go of the past and embrace the future; it was there I began to respect people that were so different from myself; it was there I began to define my own talents and diverse interests. This was my home.
After being at Maryville College and then coming home for summer and Christmas break, I thought Maryville held my heart. It was perhaps somewhere in the four walls of Anderson Hall. Possibly in the hands of the professors that had shown me what is was to posses a passion for knowledge and learning. Though, it might have been captured in the fiery sunset over the Smokey Mountains, or possibly in those who had shown me the true meaning of friendship and compassion. This had become my Home.
Now I am to embark on a new journey. One that will challenge every aspect of my life: my strength, motivation, faith, and even my friendships. Here I will face not what life use to be, but how it can be, and how it truly is.
So, when I leave Korea? Korea will not be my home, but I know that my heart will stay there in the Buddhist temples and dark subway tunnels. It will stay with the friends I am so blessed to see again and the ones I will have met and have to leave behind.
So this is my conclusion: Home is only an abstract idea of a place we are never truly at. It is where we think we belong only to find that when we are there, it is another place we feel right. We learn and grow from the places we experience because they build us into the person we become. So I try not to think of it as leaving home, if anything, I am going there.
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