I am "home" for the first time in more than a year (not including the four hours I came back for my grandpa's funeral in January and the 12 hours for my graduation dinner in December). I say "home" in quotes because this place isn't really "home" to me. My sunny, colorful, second-floor apartment in West Los Angeles is home now. But my parents' home -- this place where I grew up -- is familiar, and it's sort of comforting.
I like that this place is still the same. The smell. The noises. I still know which drawer the tea spoons are in. I can walk through the hall in the dark and find the light switch on my first try.
But then there are the things that are different -- a sign of how long I've been away. A new black and white photo of a tree in the kitchen replaces the colorful old painting from a craft fair that once hung there. The old crank-and-push windows have been replaced with modern glass panes that slide open and closed. Atop a brand new DVD player and audio system is my parents' shiny white Wii, from which they order their Netflix movies and play fake golf.
The floorboards in my old bedroom still creak in the same way, but the walls are a different color and nothing in it belongs to me but old yearbooks stacked on a shelf in the closet.
It's different, but it's the same. It's not my home, but it is the home of my childhood. It's an intermingling of my past and a place for memories of the present and future.
It's mom and dad's house. And I should come back more often.