As I pass the sign that says, “Now leaving colorful Colorado” and see the sign that says, “Welcome to Kansas” I know that I am getting closer to home (4 hours to be exact). In just a few more hours I would get to see my family and friends and what has changed in these past 5 months I’ve been gone. 

I pulled into the driveway about 3:30pm and quickly ran inside hugging my mom with full force. Next, I ran to my dog Genevieve and hugged  her. I had definitely missed my girls! I then went to my room to put my suitcase down and as I saw my room, it strangely didn’t feel like it was mine anymore. It almost felt as if I was a guest in my own home. At that moment I realized what really felt like my room was my dorm room in Boulder. 

Over Thanksgiving break, my mom and I spent time catching up and doing some of our favorite things like watching movies. We went and saw the new Hunger Games (Catching Fire) which was very well done. We also went to dinner with my mom’s two friends and their daughters, who are a year younger than me. As the two daughters talked about their senior year of high school and plans for college I thought to myself that high school feels like a different life time ago. I was wondering had I thought this because I didn’t live in Kansas anymore? Had I thought this because I had grown up and moved on? It didn’t quite hit me till a little later in break.

The next person I saw while I was in town was my good friend Jessica who goes to a college in my hometown, Wichita. We got lunch at our favorite restaurant and caught up on what all had changed since I had been gone. My other close friend I saw was my friend Jordan. She had just gotten home from school herself and we decided to go grab coffee together. We talked for hours on end. When I saw these girls it was like we hadn’t skipped a beat. Both of these girls reminded me that true friends are those that stay close no matter how far apart you are. 

The next people I saw while I was in town was our family friends. We played this game called Left, Right, Center where you each have 5 dollars worth of quarters and use 3 quarters each round. You roll the three dice and if you get left you have to pass your quarter to the left, if you get a dot you get to keep your quarters, etc. The jackpot which is Center, is taken by whoever can roll all dots. The dad of our family friends won every single round! It started to turn into this joke that we should take him to the casino because he didn’t lose a single round. Every time he would win he would make a funny comment like “I’m back”. I have never laughed harder in my life than when we played that game. 

I realized that night that although I’m not in high school anymore and am not living at home, that this place will always be my home. That this town where I grew up in will always remind me of so many great memories and close friends I have made.  I realized that night too that Boulder is also my home. It is the place that gave me a fresh start, taught me to stand on my own, helped me branch out and make new friends, from my  sorority sisters to friends I’ve met in my dorms and classes, and most importantly has allowed me the chance to be more self confident in who I am and what I stand for. University of Colorado at Boulder is truly the best thing that ever happened to me and I can’t imagine a greater place to call my school and my home.