The place where one lives permanently, esp. as a member of a family or household.
There is nothing wrong with this definition, but I think that it oversimplifies things. Home is a place, but it is also a feeling. I have lived in a few different places in my lifetime and the ones that hold significance to me, do so for the emotions they evoke in me.
Cincinnati, OH is my home, hands down. I was born here, raised here, I know the culture and the city like the back of my hand. It is engrained in me, it is the place that makes me who I am today. I love my city. It is a great family town, it has a TON to offer the people that live there (even if people don’t realize it). Cincinnatians rarely leave and if they do, they often return. I should know, I am one of them. Cincinnati is rich in German culture and history. It has great food, excellent hospitals, and we love our street festivals. I am very proud of my midwestern city and it is a great place to raise kids. However, I also have other places that I consider home and they are part of who I am as much as Cincinnati is because of what they have given me.
I graduated from Boston College. This school and city were my home for college. Boston is an amazing city. It was a great place to go to school and to have the freedom and independence in which to enter my adulthood. I loved my time there and while I only recently managed to get back to visit after quite a few years, it still felt familiar and like I belonged there. The campus and city have changed in the last 10 years, but they also haven’t. There is still so much comfort in seeing the places that made my life what it was during those formative years. There is a part of me that will always belong to Boston. So, while I physically don’t call the city home anymore, it is and always will feel a little like that to me.
And then there are the beaches of Jacksonville, Florida. This place is home to me as well. I have been coming here for as long as I can remember. Once a year, my family would visit the beaches for a couple weeks, usually to celebrate the Fourth of July and to visit family. As I got older, I started coming on my own at other times as well… spring break, thanksgiving, and even tried out one year of college in the South, although that was on the other coast. I did also briefly live on the Jax beaches on a more permanent basis right after college when I was trying to figure out the next step in my life. I am not as familiar with backstreets here as I am in Cincinnati, but otherwise I can talk about this city (for the most part) like I am a local. If I were to raise my kids anywhere besides Cincinnati, it would be here. Jacksonville has managed to maintain the small town Florida feel. It is a treasure. My immediate family all now reside in Jacksonville as well as some of the extended family that we used to visit, so I have “people” here and I am so thankful that my kids are growing up with this home in their lives as well.
I do sometimes feel conflicted about which of these two cities (Jax or Cinci), is where I am meant to be. Each brings out a different part of me. Each city supports different interests, different parts of my personality and brings me contentment in different ways. I am lucky to have two places that make me feel so at home.