Engaged in Transition

Where are you from?

Anyone else dread that question? I do. I never really know how to answer that because my family has moved several times in the past few years. In fact, the day that I moved into my dorm here at E&H my family drove back to Jefferson City, Tenn., picked up a U-HAUL loaded with our things, and moved to Cookeville, Tennessee. When I went “home” for Thanksgiving, I didn’t know how to get there. I didn’t know where any of the dishes were in the kitchen. I didn’t even have a room.

To make it even more complicated, I went to school outside my county because my mom taught at my high school. So people from the town I lived in thought I wasn’t from there. Then again, I didn’t really fit in at school because I didn’t live in the town. I also liked to say I’m from Knoxville because that’s where I was born, and I love the environment there.

Now in college when people ask me where I’m from, I don’t really have an answer. Where is “home?” What is “home?” I usually end up just saying that I’m from Tennessee because that’s true. Perhaps it’s just not as specific as most people.

During my sophomore year, I realized how much I missed Tennessee. There are some things I could do with out, but I missed that shared experience of living in Tennessee. Everyone loves UT football. Everyone has been to Dollywood. Everyone can joke about the idiosyncracies of living in Tennessee.

When I came here to Virginia, I loved this new experience, but I also realized how much I missed “home.” I became aware that I didn’t even own any Tennessee clothing. So, for Valentines day my parents sent me a Rocky Top care package, so that this year I would have something to wear when I was feeling proud of where I’m from. (And yes, I’m a proud VOL, but I won’t brag about the Battle of Bristol results.)

So what is home? Well home is a multifaceted idea. It could mean where you were born, or perhaps where you grew up. To me though, home can be where you want it to be. For me home isn’t a house. It really isn’t even my home state. What I miss about Tennessee is shared experiences. So maybe home is just where you feel the most accepted.

My dad is a college professor, and in order to avoid putting students in a potentially awkward situation by asking “where are you from,” instead he asks “where do you call home?”

So where do you call home? It can be wherever you want. Home is where the heart is. It’s okay if your heart isn’t in one place.

– Delyn Bull

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