So they say you can’t go home again. That didn’t stop me from spending three days returning to the city I lived in for eight years; the closest “home” I have outside of my childhood home in Maryland.
I moved to St. Augustine, far from my family when I was not quite twenty-one to finish my degree. I chose Flagler basically site unseen, because they offered a financial aid package and a degree in education; my back up plan after journalism didn’t pan out.
I was a late acceptance, so there was no on campus housing available. For the next three years I lived in a series of cheap, small apartments near campus.
St. Augustine is where I learned to rely on myself. Oh the skills I picked up.
- I became a whiz at parallel parking on the side streets
- I learned how to cross the busy road without getting hit (before they put in cross walks for the tourists.)
- I learned how to walk confidently and become aware of my surroundings
- I learned my way around the entire city and could go anywhere on foot or by car
- I fought my own battles at school with crappy professors and shitty roommates
- I grew up
Thirty years later, I am visiting the places were part of my experience living here. I walked all over the downtown again, looking up the places from the past, and discovering plenty of new things, too.
When I go back and stay a couple of days, it is like I never left. The twenty year old returns as I begin walking-my feet confident that the brain remembers the way, and my heart happy to be home.