San Francisco feels most like home when I'm returning to it. After a long weekend in Mexico (pictured, more on that later), we landed back in the Bay Area and I had that strange sense of comfort you feel most clearly when you're returning — that long, easy sigh of feeling very much at home.
I still call Chicago home. In conversation and in my heart, when I'm talking about home, I'm talking about Chicago. Sweet home Chicago. I call San Francisco home, too, but it's in a more home-right-now sort of way. I keep wondering when that will change. We've bought a home and settled in and the city's filled with friends and family, but I keep wondering which steps I'll take so that something will click and shift and I'll have just one home. Most likely, it'll never just be one home. Always two.
My Chicago roots reveal themselves in my accent, in the way I call soda "pop," in how quickly I walk down the street no matter where I'm going or how long I have to get there. Chicago is found in how open I am from the get-go, in how much I love talking to strangers, in the way I appreciate hockey and Fall and how I can't resist a good Italian beef sandwich. Or a good beer.
And yet, California. Almost seven of my almost-twenty-seven years have been spent in the beautiful Golden State, and I know with every sunset that this place is home — if only one of two.
For now and maybe forever, I'll span between two homes, two halves of myself that belong in different places. It's sometimes a gift, I think, and sometimes heartbreaking. Always a little homesick for the other, always missing home just a bit. But how lucky and how blessed it is to feel at home when you return. To feel at home anywhere, much less two somewheres.