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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

01.05.2004

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homecoming 
by Yee-Fan Sun | 1 2

After ten days visiting family back east over the holidays, I need a vacation.

Maybe it's a sign I'm getting old and stodgy, set in my ways, but these days, I find it more and more tiring to be away from this little pink house in the Arizona desert that I call home. No matter how much I like wherever else I happen to be, after a few days away, I start itching for home. I want to be back in my own bed, showering in my own bathroom, puttering in my own kitchen: hunkering down in my own space.

Don't get me wrong: the change of scenery does me good -- and this time of year, especially, it's good to get away from freakishly warm Tucson and see some proper winter snow. I adore going back to Boston, to the town where the boy and I both grew up, and where we met; I love seeing my parents and my brothers, and being surrounded by the familiar comforting sounds of family. I listen happily to my brothers laughing, my father sitting at the far end of the living room sofa, click-clacking away in a rhythmic staccato on his laptop, my mother dozing off under a blanket in the corner of the L-shaped sectional, when she's not in the kitchen making the clatter-rustle-sizzle sounds of a meal in progress that is. At my parents' house, it's always loud and vibrant and cheery: folks talking excitedly in raised voices, the TV on, Brahms booming from the speakers.

I like spending time with my in-laws too, and getting to know how their family works, seeing the subtle differences in the way my new family shares space with one another. Whereas the TV room is the center of all activity at my family's place, my in-laws dislike the boob tube, and the sole television set in the house is an ancient hand-me-down that sits, mostly unused, in an out-if-the-way corner of my sister-in-law's old bedroom. My in-laws' place is calm and peaceful: the background soundtrack is NPR on the radio, my mother-in-law humming while she works on renovating her kitchen, my father-in-law shifting boxes as he tidies up house, my sisters-in-law chatting quietly or flipping through the pages of a book. It's a good place to spend a long morning lounging around in your pajamas, wrapped up in a blanket, nose buried in a novel while you clutch a mug of hot Earl Grey in hand.

My parents' place, my boy's family's place: these are spots where I feel at home, mostly anyways. They're places where I know I can feel free to rummage around in the fridge when I get hungry for an afternoon snack, and no one's going to think I'm being rude for foraging for food without asking first. But no matter how much I might feel at home under those roofs, there's no denying that neither is quite the same as my own home. Happy as I am the first few days I spend in each place, eventually, I find I have to ask where they keep the flour, or where to put away the saucepan; I need to ask how to use the washing machine, and whether they use bleach for their whites. In the shower one morning, I turn the knob too far and scald my hand under the boiling water: this is how I discover that my in-laws keep their hot water much hotter than we do in my own house.

mosey this way please

---------------------------> lounge . nourish . host . laze . home.