Homecoming is one of those compound words I never thought about having actual meaning. I know, it's not that complicated: Coming + home = Coming home = Homecoming. But that's because in high school Homecoming was just an excuse to have a popularity contest with the whole queen thing, buy an expensive dress and pretend you are having fun at an awkward dance. But this weekend I experienced a true "coming home" when I arrived on my college campus for the first time since I graduated in 2005.
Although I expected to feel out of place therer, especially in my singleness, I rarely felt lonely while I was there. Honestly the formal events--the receptions, the dinners, etc--were not that great. It's fun to have a glass of wine with someone from your freshman hall, but I could only take so much of that. Not the wine part, the bullshitting part. Especially when my Barbie doll roommate (aka "Blondeboobs") is there, making me feel all inadequate and shit. Most of my close friends are from grad school, not my undergrad.
But, I really made an effort to make the weekend my own home coming. Instead of booking a hotel, I stayed with the chair of the biology department who also happened to be my ballroom dance coach while I was a student. I met up with my major advisor for lunch and visited my voice teacher's studio. I even made a trip (nerd alert) to the library to "visit" my senior honors thesis, bound and with my name on the spine. I saw friends from other classes who now live in the area and all claim to love it. They're even working on me to move there.
The real highlight was a four-hour breakfast I had with my favorite prof A. She and I have the quintessential relationship that my alma mater brags about--in school she was my mentor, and as an alum she's my friend. A really good friend in fact. I've been on vacation with her family. We have phone dates at least once a month. When I got to her house, the first thing I did was dump an entire mug of scalding hot coffee on her white place mat and her pristine hardwood floors, not to mention my own lap. In any other situation, I would have been completely humiliated. What'd she do? Handed me her favorite pair of yoga pants, threw my jeans in the washer, and told me she'd done the same thing just days before. If that's not love, I don't know what is. I heart friends you can be your own idiotic self with--and who insist that you are not an idiot even when you know you really are.
It was a fantastic, peaceful weekend. I definitely felt at home, relaxed, and completely normal in my messiness. I felt connected, known, and understood. If only I could figure out a way to feel that way in DC.