Since I was a little girl, I used to dream of the days where I would pack my bags and leave home. To be honest, I never had a real reason behind wanting to leave. I just knew I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t feel like I belonged.
After growing up in a small Southern town in Puerto Rico, I decided to take a leap and move to the capital for college. I was overwhelmed with emotions as I packed most of my belongings in my future roommate’s small car. However, as we were driving away, I remember looking at my mom, waving good-bye and thinking: “Coming home will never be the same again.”
And it wasn’t.
I lived in San Juan for about four years. It was a dream come true. Throughout my undergraduate career, I spent my days reading, writing, and learning everything I ever dreamt of studying. I jumped at any career opportunity I could. I yearned to keep growing as a person, as a friend, as a sister, as a daughter…and it was hard.
Suddenly, I graduated…and I knew that I had to say good-bye to the beautiful sunsets, the crystal-clear waters, and the sublime mountains of Puerto Rico. It was truly bittersweet. I wanted to move away, to keep pursuing my studies, to learn more, to keep growing, but part of me wanted to keep holding on to the idea of calling that truly enchanting Caribbean island “home”.
On my way to Wisconsin, I remembered that little girl who wanted to travel and explore, that young teenager who had to grow up and go to college, and that ambitious undergrad who could never put a book down. I realized that I was making the best decision of my life. Still, I hold all of these versions of myself closely and dear to my heart, but it’s hard.
After being homesick for a while, I became aware of the truth: I don’t truly know what my home is anymore. I am now an outsider in the Caribbean and a warm-blooded Boricua lost in the Midwest. I don’t know where I belong, but I know that, for the time being, Wisconsin is my home.
I am joyful to have found a beautiful place with incredible people where I can keep growing as a person. As the cliché says, “Home is where the heart is.”