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And by home, at this point, I do mean Chicago. Oh yes, its home now. How did that happen exactly? I’ll lay it out for you, but the Readers Digest version, I was in CA for three weeks… 

My first trip to CA was for The Nicks’ wedding. Which was amazing. But I was only there a very short time. five days total I think. Enough to get a burrito, grab a drink in the Castro with Tap That & Friends, give my mom and dad a hug and hit the road for Santa Barbara and Disneyland. It was a very whirlwind trip. 

My second trip to CA was to see Britney and Mark get married in Palm Springs, celebrate my dad’s 60th birthday, Ernie’s birthday, and Laura’s birthday (and have more than 1 burrito). I was supposed to be there for 10 days. I Flew into Palm Springs and was quickly reminded of the beauty of mountains (we don’t have any in the midwest, like…none) and was presented with a full time job offer from a law firm in Chicago (yay!). After yet another gorgeous wedding, redic reception and after party (no seriously, we wedding’d for like 10 hours), I was whisked off to San Diego to see La Fly High and hang out with the Cheertator. Good times.

When I landed in SF I was basically going back and forth between parties, dinners, my parents house for five more days. Just what I wanted and needed. I was fully planning on flying home Sunday and spending two weeks in bed, at the gym and hitting up KFC for thanksgiving since my temp job was apparently pissed I got a full time job and not to bother coming back. So I ended up staying in CA until Black Friday. A grand total of 3 weeks of time away from my stuff, living out of a suitcase and by the end of it, doing chores for my mom. 

Now, midway through week two, I started getting texts and calls from my friends in Chicago asking where I was and WTF was I still doing in CA? I didn’t have a great answer for that one, cause mostly I sat around and did a whole lot of nothing (my favorite thing to do in Davenport). I did babysit my three year old nephew, which was amazing, he both loves and fears me, just what I was going for. Saw my besties a lot more than I thought I was going to and had more than my share of Vallarta. 

Know what I also had more than my fill of? Nope, not carnitas (that would never happen), my family. I realize that I used to live with them, and they have support me like none other when times get rough, I even let them in on some boy issues I was having this go round, which brought us even closer as a family. Know what also brings us closer as a family? Me living 1,800 miles away. 

When I left Davenport for San Jose in the fall of 2002 and struck out on my own, my relationship with my parents, which was always tense and uneasy, became much less strained and awkward. My dad and I actually became friends and enjoyed our time together. My mom and I could actually speak without screaming at each other and we hit a new level. 

Although i’d been craving more distance for a long time, I didn’t realize how necessary it was or the benefits it would bring when I actually got it. The benefits of distance for me were quickly noted as distance went from 1,800 miles to 0 for two weeks, and it was not pretty. With newfound openness with my parents, a new relationship started to be formed. Its hard to explain, but after coming out to my folks 12 years ago it was a pretty slow progression to my mom being able to talk about “gays” without crying to bringing up God and the bible. Totally understand, it wasn’t easy for her, it wasn’t easy for me. My dad remained silent on the whole situation until I moved in with my first boyfriend, then that was really the last it ever came up. Apparently ideas have shifted, and I knew they had when my dad nick named me “The Good Fairy” and my mom thought it was hilarious and we all had a good laugh. See how much better things get when you’ve got 1,800 miles between you and the parentals? I now understand why people do it. 

As much as the new relationship with my folks rocked and I enjoyed it, i was basically couped up in the house for two weeks. Not that I couldn’t go anywhere, but everyone I would want to see was either in school or working…In those two weeks, I realized…I wanted to go home. And by home, I was thinking Chicago. Chicago is now home and I didn’t get that until I looked at my suitcase, overflowing with stuff, marched over to the calendar and started mentally to count down the days until I got on a plane and went back to it. I was no longer home when I was in davenport, I was at my parent’s house. I even stayed in the guest room, not in my old room. #awkward.

I’ll be really interested to see what its like when I go back to CA the next time, which probably wont be until June. I need a little travel to CA break. There are way too many other places to see and visit from here that I’ve got to explore. Hopefully I’ll be there before my dad fixes up his airstream and gets on the road with my mom to come for a visit. Only time will tell with that one.

Although my first trip home didn’t give me much of a chance to miss Chicago, the second one did. Even though I knew I was going home to freezing weather, possible snow and a studio that is the size of my mom’s bathroom, I longed for it. That was two weeks ago, and I can say I’m still thrilled to be home. Even though i can’t wear a t-shirt or shorts when I go out and about during the day, I feel so at ease here and comfortable. Thats what home is, and thats where I am. 

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