Tampa, My Home, Sweet, Home.

It was supposed to be boring Tampa.

TAMPA FLORIDA
UNSPLASH @brandonburridge

The leftover time-filler of my exciting spring break, a stop home to see my family since I didn’t know when I would be home next and I didn’t really have anything better to do. But as much as I keep pulling myself away, keep telling myself, “Tampa was a great place to grow up in, but it’s far too static for me to ever settle down in,” the more in love with it I fall each time I return home.

It never ceases to amaze me how much the sunshine affects my happiness. All of my life I was spoiled into thinking that sunny afternoons and cloudless skies were the norm. Only after being entrenched in the brutalities of winter have I realized how irregular my regular really was. And as soon as I feel the warmth on my skin, it’s as if I’m a drooping plant that’s photosynthesizing all of my energy from this light above me. I have the ability to do, go, move, and play. The static-ness that drove me away is what keeps pulling me back. My only past time is letting the time pass—biking with my mom, visiting the museums, laying by the pool, watching the sunset on the beach, running through mud with my sister, trying the new ethnic cuisines that have opened up.

Tampa’s grown from a vast expanse of farmland, to a calm escape from the heftiness of the northeastern real world. I’m exuberant, spending time with my mom and my sister, and before I know it, this wanderer has turned into a homebody. I thought homesickness was something you were supposed to grow out of. And since I never felt it growing up—always being the first to run out of the car at summer camp, spend weeks on end at friends’ houses, fly off to any country without thinking about the next time I’d be home—I assumed I had missed that boat entirely. But it seems as if it has only grown stronger as I’ve grown up. Transforming from homesickness to an aching sense of melancholy, to a place of nostalgia where “boring” now feels warmhearted. So what I never felt as a nine-year old, I can now say as a twenty year old: I’ve missed home.

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