Summer Postcards 2011

Going Home

SOMEWHERE OVER THE PACIFIC—During the past twenty years I’ve had the strange privilege of living in ten different cities. To be fair, the first two pre-date my memory. But even so, I think it’s fair to say that I have a pretty unusual definition of what it means to be going home.

The prevailing lyrical literature on home, from Bruce Springsteen to Skylar Gray, supports the idea that home is where you grew up, or where the people you love live. If that is the case, then Naples, Italy, where my family currently lives, is home for me. Why, then, do I feel like I’m coming home as I fly back to Boston, and Harvard?

I’ve spent an unreasonable amount of time thinking about what home means for me. I know that when people ask, “where’s home for you?” they expect a single, definite answer. But my definition of home is fluid. Home, maybe, is a place that conjures up a feeling of comfort, no matter the circumstances of your arrival. But with that definition I could give you five places that I can call home, including places like my grandparents’ house—places I’ve only visited but never lived.

When I graduate, my four years in Cambridge will have been the longest amount of time I’ve ever spent in one place, and I am confident that I will be able to call yet another corner of the world home. Yet when I inevitably move, change jobs, and start a family, so too will my answer to that question—where’s home for you?—change.

But that’s OK. Because unlike a mortgage, a paycheck, or a marriage license, home isn’t a tangible entity. It doesn’t exist on a piece of paper. Whoever said home is where the heart is had it backwards. Your heart doesn’t stay at home. Your home, no matter where or why you call it so, stays in your heart.


Alexander Koenig '14, a sports writer, lives in Currier House.