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What is home?

Since moving to Tempe, Ariz. for college, I have been grappling with the concept.  A sophomore now, my freshman year was spent pining for my hometown of San Francisco.  I missed the cuisine, the throngs of  colorful people, the electric crackle of city air.

Being far from water was unsettling.  No longer could I walk along the ocean at sundown or the black bay at night.   During my first months of college I would, unbeknownst to my parents, use my food stipends to buy greyhound tickets in the dead of lonely nights to San Diego or Los Angeles to walk along the beach, feel that familiar sliding squish of sand between my toes.

Home, I have concluded through nights of restless thought, is not a physical place.  It is a mental and emotional state in which familiar comforts abound, whether they be people, images, foods, sounds or  activities. While I have created for myself a wonderful home in Arizona, I still miss my coastal abode in the city by the bay.  My San Francisco is in neither the Golden Gate Bridge nor the Trans-america Pyramid or Lombard Street.  My San Francisco is in her restaurants, between alleyways, on rooftops, aside sparkling waterfronts, atop steep hills and amid twisting streets swimming with hurried traffic.

I miss her like a first love and always will.