“You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.”

Growing up that was a common saying in my house hold; thankfulness and gratitude were lessons that my parents preached over and over again. This past weekend I was able to revisit those lessons when I got a chance to visit them.

If you know me you know I’m never home, and if you know me even better you know that “home” isn’t a place, it’s a feeling.

Ever since I graduated form high school I can confidently say that I have only been home a total of 4 months in 2 and a half years. With this being said, I have realized that while my definition of home used to be Atlanta, Georgia and my immediate family, I would be homesick very often if I didn’t change that definition, so I did.

Home quickly became where my friends were, where my school was and any gym I could get too. Home was any place and time I went with people who I love and care about, and lucky for me that definition still stands today.

Often people ask me how I feel about going to college so far away from home. Honestly, it has it’s down sides, but when you feel that you’ve chosen the best school for you, distance is just an obstacle, it’s not the end all be all. But this weekend I got a chance to sit down with my parents and really talk about what I am grateful for. Outside of the home cooked meals that I got while I was visiting and the quality time with my family, I started to realize just how grateful I was to be around people I know.

I spend so much time in Charlottesville throughout the year and lets just say, by the end of the school year I’m ready for a change of scenery. But living in DC for the past month has taught me a lot. Here in DC I am the only person I know. Don’t get me wrong, I know my coworkers and of course my roommate, but I am the only person I genuinely know, and that has been a huge learning experience.

I never realized how much being around people you know can affect your experience until I got to DC. In Georgia, I’m around my parents, brother, best friends Andrea and Lauren, George, Mario and his friends… all these people I know. In Charlottesville I’m around my teammates, friends and mentors as well. But in DC I don’t have that.

To say the least, I am homesick because not only am I not at my physical home, but I am not around anyone that I would associate with home. It was not until my time in DC that I realized how much I take this small luxury for granted. I have never been more ready for another change of scenery, and I’m excited to go back to Charlottesville (CVille). This is saying a lot because after staying in CVille all last summer and through the year, I never thought I’d want to go back as much as I do now. I’m excited to see my family, friends, have my own room again, and be surrounded by people who care about me.

The truth is, “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone”, even if you don’t realize you have it in the first place. Moving to DC has taught this lesson and many more. I’ve never appreciated my loved ones as much as I do now.