When “Home” is Unexpected: What on Earth Could They Be Doing in Mississippi?

People are often really taken aback by me. It isn’t a condescending princess notion, but its true. There are a lot of parts of my life that confuse. Our yearly trip to visit my grandparents in one of those bewildering moments for people that don’t know my family history or where I grew up. So, lets take this time to get to know one another!

If you’ve read any of the guest posts I’ve done for Middle East Collective, you know a liiiiiiittle bit about my parents and how supportive they have always been of my travels. If you haven’t fear not! We are about to get into that. So, I guess we should start with my parents, right?

I am the daughter of an incredibly brave woman who moved from Colombia to Mississippi after she married my father. Fresh faced and with a suitcase full of hopes, dreams, and love my 21 year old mother left a big city for a small Southern Baptist town. I like to think that I get my bravery, sense of wonder and wander, and organization skills from my mom.

I am also the daughter of an astonishingly intelligent man who loves all things history who after graduating college decided to go to Colombia and visit his roommates family. Not speaking more than one lick on Spanish and with nothing better to do, my dad went to South America with nothing more than shorts, flip flops, and snorkel gear (so the story goes…).Both of my parents clearly traveled before they had me (first born status, FTW) and even after. They were and continue to be supportive of my wanderlust.

Recently I was talking with someone about where I grew up and my hometown. I’m not sure if its because I love to travel or because we moved quite a bit growing up, but I don’t feel like I have a “hometown.” But there are few places that feel like “home” to me.

Places where no matter what is going on in the world or my life I can relax and take a deep breath, knowing everything is going to be okay. And twoΒ of those places couldn’t be more polar opposite!

Grenada, Mississippi

If you’ve never heard of it, it is okay. Neither has every one else. Unless you have family there or happen to know the area well by some fluke happenstance, chances are you don’t know where Grenada is. So, it is between Jackson, MS and Memphis, TN. It is a small town where everyone knows each other, pies really do cool on window sills, and neighbors bring you good home made food when someone dies or you just aren’t feeling good. This is the place where I don’t leave the house for 3 days, I watch the stars at night with clear crisp skies, and let the smell of dewy pine trees fill my body with each breath.

To me, my grandmother’s house and more specifically her kitchen and cooking, are where I go to reset. To feel whole again. To put my life into perspective. If my life was crumbling and I felt lost, this where I could go to not feel so small anymore. This is one of my homes.

My Moms House in Colombia

You know how some people’s houses just have that smell? It doesn’t smell like anything you can identify, its not like “oh, they must have an apple pie candle burning!” but just that scent that reminds you of someone. Like when you smell your pillow after your significant other spends the night? Or when you take a big whiff of a boyfriends hoodie he left behind? It’s not specific but its just their smell. My mom’s house has that smell.Β No matter what city or state or even continent she is living on, her house always has that smell.

This house is a different type of home to me, one that has moved across state lines and oceans where as my grandmother’s house has been the same since before I was born. My mom’s house is comforting because it is my mom’s house. It is where I wish I was every time I am sick with the flu, when I want to be comforted and taken care of, and where the world could be blowing up around me but I would feel safe.

It is funny too, how “home” can be a thing and not a place. The smell of the mountains on a chilly morning is another one of my “home” feelings. The look Rocky and Kona give me before they sneakily try to snuggle up in bed with me on Saturday mornings.

Home isn’t always a house or where you grew up… it is a pretty abstract feeling and sentiment that means something different for every person.

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