Xander’s College Life – Chapter 5

Return… home? But which is home?

(Written 9/6/2004)

So now I’m back at school from Naperville once more. The drive back was a bit squashed—five full grown men in PJ’s little vehicle. Dev drove to ensure our safety. But our back home… how to describe it?

The drive back home was pretty uneventful—hours and hours of cornfields. Oh…except there was one horrible car crash on the highway, from the smoldering cars and still arriving emergency vehicles it was very recent—there was a car in a ditch that had been on fire—


–and the other car… I couldn’t imagine how anyone would survive from it—the entire front section was smashed into the back—the car crushed to half its size. I hope by some miracle that they survived, but by the people looking into the car from outside…

An hour later, we arrived into familiar territory, roads becoming more familiar as we approached Naperville .

            “We’re home,” Jon said as we passed 75 th street . And when we passed by Naperville North… a wave of overwhelming familiarity came by. But what I had felt a week ago was true: it seemed SO small, so close, and familiar. It had only been two weeks since we’d left—yet the time there seemed so long. It was as if we were returning from a summer camp, a long but temporary stay, and now we were home for good. Only three days, but it seemed like it should be forever. But it was home, even though over the next four years I’d spent far more time away than at “home”. So the whole concept of “home” would change. But not yet. Still, Naperville/Clarendon Hills was home. That contrasted with Jason, and Nick’s perception upon returning (they’re going to schools where they know only a few people).

            I didn’t see nearly as many people as I had hoped to see—nor did I get to see my enhanced weapons(—sorry Adam!). Still, the people I was with, we hung out as if it was a continuation of summer. The first night, we ate at Taco Bell, our hang out place–the place where we went after Graduation, at each of our departures, and where we had said goodbye exactly two weeks before. With the noted exception for Jon (in NYU now), it felt as it should be.

            Being home (a la maison) was quite the same as well, which is why it felt so odd. The first thing I did was take a REAL shower. Back at my room, with its photos, posters, my REAL bed, I truly felt back . Lol—but somehow I managed to leave my car keys at college, so I couldn’t drive Tauri. (Stupid of me to take ‘em there in the first place). On our last night there we just hung out at Jon’s house—crazy, sharing our stories with the people that hadn’t started yet—the Northwestern boy/girl, those at other schools… and with the high school seniors. Funny—when I turned senior, one of the most dominant feelings was being at the top—but for these guys, they had us above them. Never having any older siblings, I always wondered what it would be like. We at the vanguard and they, learning from us who were ahead of them.

Some of them were perpetually in a down mood while there, contrasting with my constant pleasure of being back home. Understandably.

Attitude is so important. Some time after Jon’s house, we headed over to Arrowhead Park–another noted place of memories. In the darkness, our collective conversations felt so much closer. The few couples that were left scattered around, expanding our sphere throughout the park. Kaidi would have claimed it could be an incredibly “sappy” while, lol–which I was spared from. But empowered, we headed over to Steak & Shake–for our final meal.

Some more talk, sitting around, and then… we went home. The next morning came incredibly quickly–time to head off to camp once again. But before doing so… I started a final project… which perhaps will be revealed in time.

Always watching…

The final goodbye was… a bit more subdued. I was pumped, ready to head back to UIUC. Some random pictures of the time:

Children really–

A sad face…

A couple left behind…

And a final salute as we drove off–

Three hours later, we were in familiar territory once more–our second home, same as we had left it four days before. Contrasting with the first arrival two weeks ago, this was another home. Jon descibed it as a feeling of familiarity, no longer a foreign place, but home. Quite so.

The half of Our Group present at the Second Send Off

Next, Chapter 4… nightmares…