It’s not just from the Wizard of Oz anymore! Indeed, as people have known for a long time, there is no place like home.
Every time that I come back to Nebraska to spend any amount of time, there is some mystique about it. As most people know, I am a real family guy, and being with parents, siblings, and old friends is one of my favorite things. You really never know what you had until you don’t see them every day, and taking a close-knit family for granted is something that can be difficult when you first move away. Guilty as charged! I didn’t really feel that until I moved to Evanston, since when I was at UNL, family was just a 20-minute drive away… and they saw me every Football Saturday or Basketball _______day.
Additionally, there is that line from the Huskers school song: “There is no place like Nebraska!” Although the song refers to the university, I strongly believe it refers to the state as well. The low-key way of life, friendly people, and delightfully unpredictable weather make it home to me, even after I have moved away. What you are used to when you are younger always provides comfort later, as nostalgia is a wonderful feeling of “the good old days.”
And even though I’m not “immediately” home when I fly into Eppley (it takes about 90 more minutes to get to the southern outskirts of Lincoln), that first conversation with whichever family member(s) pick me up exemplify my love of not only family, but road trips. It’s always a good conversation about catching up on life, recent events, or whatnot. And, it’s done with undivided attention and no worry of pixelated faces (Skype) or random calls dropped (phone). Or, in the case of Mom, since my conversations for daily updates tend to drag, the call often gets cut off for lack of time. None of that happens on the interstate!
Usually, it’s Mom who picks me up, and we always get the “everyday chat” followed by changes in Lincoln and what has happened lately, along with various other topics which are different every time. This time, it was Levi, and we chatted about Emily, navigation, Connecticut, policies, scenery, California, and much more. This trip marks the longest interval of time while visiting Nebraska before seeing Mom, actually (it is currently 17:38, I got in at 12:20, and Mom has been stuck at the office all day)!
I am really looking forward to this vacation. Although I will still need to do some work, being back in Lincoln gets me an opportunity to catch up in person with old friends and teachers, hang out with family, see some Husker games in person, and just take it easy. These sixteen days are bound to fly!
Thanks to Stephanie Kahn for this blog-ending idea, I will say that “Today is awesome because it marks a family reunion day.”