Earlier in the semester I decided that I would not return to Texas for Thanksgiving. The holiday break isn’t terribly long at Arcadia—it’s more of an extended weekend really—and it would be expensive and too much of a hassle to make the 1,700-mile trip. It would be better just to wait a little bit longer and return at Christmas instead.
One of my best friends had other ideas, however.
He had heard that I didn’t plan to come home and thought it was so unacceptable that he decided to purchase some tickets for me as a gift. (Yeah, pretty awesome friend, right?) When I heard this, I was thrilled and was about to call home to deliver the news, when I thought for a moment: How great would it be if my family had no idea I was coming and I surprised them by just walking through the door Wednesday night? I’ll answer for you: pretty fantastic. So I put the phone away and didn’t tell them.
The week soon came and I was pumped but also a little nervous. I’m new to Northeast weather, so the possibility that my flight could be delayed or cancelled due to a snow storm hadn’t even crossed my mind. So when I started getting warnings from my friends to bring a pillow to the airport because I might be there for a while, I began to rethink my plans. With some extra help from my friend, I was able to call the airline at 2 in the morning and change my flight to Tuesday afternoon instead of Wednesday night. When I look back at the weather, I’m glad we were able to figure it out. If we hadn’t changed that flight, I might still be in Philly stuck in a real Planes, Trains, and Automobiles situation, having to travel the states with my own Dale Griffith companion (which is probably not as fun as the movie may have made it look).
The day of travel was exciting and hectic. I did my laundry, tried to consolidate everything I could into the only small backpack I had, put my dorm room in order, and said farewell to my roommate before setting out. The weather was already pretty nasty as I walked to the train station through the cold, drizzling rain in my already soaked TOMs. But I was happy. I bought myself a hot chocolate at Elcy’s Café while I waited for the train and mentally prepared myself for the craziness of Thanksgiving travel and the crowds that were most likely already flooding the airport and the other train station stops. Other than the expected long security lines, some slight delays, and a few obnoxious kids, it was an uneventful flight thankfully and I was soon landing in San Antonio.
Coming home for Thanksgiving after three months away was an interesting experience to say the least. It was strange to have things that had been so familiar to me not that long ago feel so new. The furniture seemed smaller and my room didn’t feel quite like my own. The way my mom put it, I had officially reached “guest status,” and it hit me that I was already starting my life apart from home and would always be visiting instead of living there in a sense. Another odd feeling was that now that I was miles away from school, it almost felt like college hadn’t even happened. Of course it did, and I would be going back soon to experience it again, but it still felt surreal.
But even if things felt a little off, I was happy to be home. My sister saw me first and thought she was hallucinating before giving me a big hug. Then my mom came in and screamed with surprise. It was definitely worth it. This was my first time visiting home since the start of the semester, and I must admit it was a breath of fresh air. While I am glad to be at Arcadia, Dorothy had it right when she clicked her heels together: There really is no place like home.