Home Is Where Your Heart Is

Have you ever been to a place that just clicked with you? All of a sudden you feel like you belong and you’re meant to be there. I’ve been lucky enough to experience that feeling many times whether it be with particular places or with specific people.
For me, one of those places is Athens. I crave Donkey Coffee so much I can almost taste it when I’m away. The people, the shops, the food… It’s all a part of that feeling.
I can’t even begin to describe how excited it makes me to see that Hocking River sign and to drive through Nelsonville, knowing that I’m almost there.
I don’t know what it is about this place. Maybe it’s just the memories. Maybe it’s the people. Maybe it’s the way it makes you feel like you’re a part of something. Whatever it is, it consumes you.
All those afternoons I spent on Stroud’s Run beach studying or reconnecting with God, the nights we danced at Casa Nueva until nearly 2 a.m., the first time I tried Goodfella’s pizza and all the times we went to Jackie O’s on Celtic Night may contribute to why I can’t shake the addiction I have to this town.
From the live music at little coffee shops to the thrift stores that sell the trendiest knick knacks, Athens is an experience in itself.
Some places just feel like home. It just gives you the feeling that something great is happening there and it’s welcoming you to be a part of it. All you have to do is say yes and get out there to join in.
I’ve met so many amazing people here. Artists, politicians, musicians… All dreamers chasing that one thing that they know satisfies them more than anything else. Dreams run free here. No one is scared to just be themselves. Maybe that’s what the college experience in Athens is all about. Finding yourself.
I can’t imagine being anywhere else. I’ll feel this way about many places in my life, but this is where it all began. My dreams started here. This is where I learned how to chase them. This is where I learned that it’s okay to be exactly who you are because everyone else is just figuring it out too.
I know moving on this May will be difficult, but that just means a new adventure. And who knows? Maybe I’ll learn how to discover myself even more than I already have.
But tonight, tonight is for Athens. Tonight, Christmas is approaching. The lights are lit on Court Street, carolers prowl the brick streets and horse and buggies take enthusiastic families for a ride through the winter wonderland. Coffee and hot chocolate will be waiting at Donkey after the chill sets in and undoubtedly there will be a local musician in the back room singing her heart out for the few locals and remaining college students.
Tonight, my heart is in Athens.
And it’s still figuring out exactly how to chase its deepest desires.
Merry Christmas, Athens. Your Bobcats miss you dearly.

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