On Going Home

On Going Home

Did you move away from your hometown? For me, Springfield, Missouri, is a strange place to visit because it sparks so many memories of growing up. Two years ago, I moved to New York City. As I continue building my new life here, I’m often struck by what I miss — and don’t miss — from my hometown. Here’s my current list (what’s yours?)…

Things I Miss:
1. Porch swings.
2. The idea of Mrs. Brown living in a brown house with brown walls.
3. My brother, who teases, “Bet you don’t have [insert everyday object here] in New York.” (e.g., “Bet you don’t have socks in New York.”)
4. Street names like Cherry and Walnut.
5. Jugs of unsweetened iced tea.
6. My mom, who always asks me where she put her keys.
7. Cousin talent show drama.
8. Provel cheese.
9. My first grade teacher living next door to my parents. (The same teacher who watched me dance to “Like a Virgin” for show-and-tell.)
10. Downtime.
11. Driving to Target; a fully-stocked Target.
12. My aunt Millie’s potato casserole with corn flakes.
13. Attics.
14. Stock tanks used as swimming pools.
15. My dad, who uses an empty water bottle as his ping-pong paddle to make it a “fair game.”
16. Chatty neighbors.
17. Dusty sunsets.
18. Worn-out roller skates, and calling the sport “midwest skiing.”
19. Tap water that tastes slightly sweet.
20. All of the backyard locations I swore were Leprechaun doors.
21. Overheard piano lessons.
22. Bumpy sidewalks covered in chalk.
23. Teenagers riding in truck beds.
24. Andrew.
25. Knowing everyone’s name.

Things I Don’t Miss:
1. Brown recluse spiders.
2. The looming fear of an old porch swing collapsing.
3. The style of wearing sunglasses on top of baseball caps.
4. Long lines at the DMV.
5. Avoiding the neighbor that saw me sneak out of my parents’ house in high school.
6. Leeches.
7. Flooded basements.
8. Tornadoes.
9. Family forgetting to fill me in on gossip.
10. Life going on without me.

On Going Home

The longer I’ve lived away from Springfield, the more I know that I made the right decision to move. Sometimes I panic that the town will change and it will be no longer be the place I hold so dear. I remind myself, though, I’m changing too. After all, as Maya Angelou said, “You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it’s all right.”

Have you moved from your hometown? What do you miss, and what don’t you miss?

P.S. Making friends as an adult, and where do you live now?

(List inspired by Nora Ephron’s What I’ll Miss, What I Won’t Miss. Top photo by Joel Meyerowitz. Roller skate photo by Stella.)

  1. Oh I can really relate on this Stella. I’m glad that I spread my wings with new adventure but always missing home where memories will always be remembered.

  2. Phedra Hackett says...

    Hi My name is Phedra and my family and I live in Georgia for 21 years now. I grew up in the Bahamas which is very different from Georgia. I grew up playing hopscotch, bat and ball, red light green light and just playing with my friends in the neighborhood. I really miss my family and friends, the beach and the native foods. Things I don’t miss the sun flies and mosquitoes and nosy neighbors. Also I miss the laid back lifestyle it is so relaxing. I would love to move back to the Bahamas one day, but for now I travel back home every year or so.

  3. I am obsessed with this piece! All that amazing imagery that you used made me feel like I was standing right there beside you in your home town, even though I’ve never been to Missouri! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Frances says...

    late to the party (story of my life) but what i miss about my home:
    the wet grassy smell of the paddocks
    the sound of the flood water rushing through the creek
    the sound of cows and koalas and foxes and barking owls in the night time
    the sound of the magpies in the early morning and the cicadas on hot afternoons
    the lack of traffic
    the lack of traffic lights
    the restful feeling the green grass and trees have on my eyes
    the cheese and wine enjoyed by the wood heater
    the silence

    what i don’t miss:
    the terrible shopping
    not being able to get bagels or banh mi or bibimbap
    the palm-sized huntsmans and redbacks and white tails
    watching for brown snakes and black snakes beneath my feet

    can you tell i want to move back home? coming to you all the way from melbourne, australia, via a little tiny town called chiltern. look it up!

  5. Abbey says...

    A little late reading and responding to this post. Today is blog catch-up day. I was born in San Antonio, Texas but spent most of my child hood in a town 4 hours south. I couldn’t wait to leave that town. Unfortunately, we moved around from home to home (within the same town), so I never felt rooted there. My mom was a single parent, and life with three kids was hard. I have a handful of good memories and a tiny ping of nostalgia every now and again (mostly food related), but I rarely visit now as an adult. After college, I moved to the San Antonio/Hill County area and it has been home for over 10 years. I own my home here, and I feel that no matter where I go, this will always be “where I’m from.” I’ve often craved relocating to the east coast for a few years to experience life in a state outside of Texas. And if that ever comes to fruition, there will be things about San Antonio that I will miss.

  6. Diana says...

    Great timing on this post!
    I grew up in the suburbs of Houston and after 12 years will be moving back in two (short) months. I always said I would move home some day, but now that it is approaching, I’m feeling very nervous. Pretty silly that I moved to NYC, LA, Jersey City, Alexandria, VA and currently live in Philadelphia, but this is the most anxious I’ve been about a city. :)

  7. I grew up near Springfield, Missouri as well! I actually just got back from there tonight, a quick weekend visit was due. I live in Salt Lake City now, but lived in London for quite a while and the contrast of size from Springfield to the ridiculous expanse of London was jarring and exciting. I miss Andy’s, cashew chicken, and the greeeeen that is everywhere. :)

  8. Margaret says...

    I legit LOL’d at the “Driving to Target; a fully stocked Target” knowing EXACTLY which target you are referring to in Brooklyn. My friends and I call it the Soviet Target – it always just feels like everyone is running around looting the place (even though I know they aren’t)! Target is often high on my list of places to visit when I’m home in my small town.

  9. Deborah says...

    We live in Saudi Arabia, but home for us is Owasso, OK. It’s where my hubby grew up and where we lived for our first three years of marriage. Expat life is really great, but we miss home a lot. We were planning to stay in KSA for a few more years, but then our 41 yo neighbor was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She’s back home in CA getting treatment. And we’ve been asking ourselves if this is really where we would want to be if our time on Earth was limited. Our answer is no. We’d want to be home. So we’ve bought land in Owasso and my hubby is applying for jobs. We’re going home!

  10. Rebecca says...

    What a great post. I reacently moved back home from a big city to the little town where nearly all of my relatives live. It’s really strange… Like you said, I have changed and the town and all of the people here also changed in the last 3 years. Stores moved or even closed. It’s weird and I am still in the process of finding my place. I feel like I can’t continue at the same point that I left. Now I have all the things I missed when I was far away, but now I miss things I had in the city! The missing part never ends, but I decided to enjoy the things I have now and stopp complaining about the things I left in the city.

  11. I went to high school in Springfield (but mostly Kansas City). Great place to raise kids if you like a slower pace, affordable living, and big back yards. My mom let my little brother ride his bike around (further than the neighborhood) when he was in ELEMENTARY school. I miss tons of open fields, the ease of parking anywhere, and yes, FULLY stocked Target and drugstores. Now I’m in DC and the CVS near my place can’t keep Burt’s Bees in stock for 10 minutes.

  12. Sally says...

    “Going home” is a funny business. I did the vast bulk of my growing up in a small town only about 14 miles away from where I now live. But it might as well be in a different country, because the difference between “me in that town” and “me in my current town” is so vast.

    I go back to my old town once a year to get my yearly eye check-up (because it’s the same eye doctor I’ve had since I was 5, and it’s a family-run business where you actually get treated like a human being, as opposed to 2 unthinking-unfeeling eyeballs)… And the town just doesn’t feel the same. Yeah, most of the shops are still the same, the layout of the place hasn’t changed. But SOMETHING has changed. I think the key thing is, my family aren’t there any more (my parents moved away from my childhood home 7 years ago). So now the town isn’t the “place where my people are”.
    Every time I go there now, I feel strange, awkward and out-of-place. I actually don’t even like to go there any more because I don’t like how it makes me feel. It’s strange.

  13. Melinda says...

    I’m originally from a small town in Iowa so I can totally relate to this post (especially swimming in stock tanks). I live in a bigger city now and my family no longer lives in IA. But, on the occasion that I go ‘home’ to visit friends, my kids love it (my son even cried once when it was time to go home). I don’t think I could live in a small town as an adult, but there is something special about growing up in one.

  14. I grew up in a small town in Missouri, too. And I also don’t live there anymore. I loved this so much. Thank you.

  15. I moved around a lot as a kid so I guess I’ve never felt I left a home town rather I’m still on my journey to find my hometown aka where I settle down. But hey, that might never happen and I’m okay with it. I do, however, call Minnesota home – mainly because people often ask where you’re from and that’s where I spent a good chunk of my formative years 10-24.

    I’ve lived in Rhode Island, Texas, Arizona, 3 towns in Minnesota, NYC, and now Long Island NY.

  16. Sford says...

    Its not necessarily ‘things’ that I miss having moved from a city to a small coastal town in the UK about 18 years ago.

    I get very nostalgic for my hometown whenever I go back and see family – about 4 times a year. Maybe as its because I am getting older (mid 40’s) but I find it poignant that everyone I know now on a daily basis didn’t know me growing up or as a teenager. I had completely different experiences to them (living in a city) which have made me who I am but I cant reminisce with them as they didn’t know me, where my friends and I used to hang out etc.

    Every time I go home (and I do still call it ‘home’ even though I am settled and love where I live now) I feel a sense of restfulness and familiarity come over me. Love it!

  17. I’m also a little late with this but I love thinking about the meaning of “home”. I grew up in Indiana, went to university in San Diego, and then moved to France and now New Zealand.

    In general I miss nothing about Indiana except for my family, and my old neighbors. It will always be my home in the sense that I grew up there though. The only thing I could miss in terms of food from Indiana is Chicago style pizza (I’m from the NW part of Indiana)! I just miss the feeling of being with my family and feeling so comfortable all the time. But it’s just too small of a world there for me; I feel claustrophobic when I’m there for too long.

    Every day I miss San Diego, though. The beaches, Mexican food, acai bowls, perfect weather year round, and the best friends I made there.

    Home is more of a feeling to me than a place – and when I’m with those people my soul feels at home no matter where I am! Sadly I realized that because of my travel sort of lifestyle, and moving around, I’ve built a life where my friends are never in one same place. Even the friends I made in college have all scattered around the country, as well as my two best friends from my small hometown of DeMotte, IN.


  18. I just read this post, a bit late I see with nearly 300 comments, but it is apropos at the moment as I prepare for another move as an Army wife. The idea of home is so complex to me now…and yet…it’s so simple. Home is now just wherever I’m with my people. :) I do miss a Texas boy rushing to open my door, tho. Some things never get old.

  19. I’m from Springfield too-really Ozark! I’ve always wondered what part of MO you were from :) I’ve been reading your blog for the last year or so. You forgot to add cashew chicken and Andy’s to the list <3 hehe. I live in Dallas now and can totally relate to most of your list!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha cashew chicken was one of the things that ended up being cut (just for length). stella’s always talking about it, ha!

  20. i grew up in a small town on the coast of oregon called florence. highway 101 runs right through it and the siuslaw river runs perpendicular to the highway and empties out into the sea. i left after high school so most of what i miss is nostalgic from those days. for example, when we were late to school we could just tell the office secretary, “the bridge was up.” she would know that the drawbridge south of town was up on our way to school and we would be excused. for entertainment in high school it was either the friday night football game or “cruising” 101. you could never get through freddies (fred meyers) without seeing one of your old teachers, your middle school crush’s mom, and your best friend’s cousin. at christmas it takes double the amount of time. i always miss the constant drizzle of rain, and the way that it made everything so beautifully green. and i miss that the place i return to each night is no longer huckleberry lane.

  21. Vaish says...

    I moved from St. Louis, MO to Denver and I identify with so much of this list. One thing that I am shocked I miss (because I complained about it EVERY day for 28 years) is HUMIDITY! I joke with my husband that I have to book regular trips home just to re-hydrate myself. I am also surprised by how much I miss the small town feeling – I was excited to move to a bigger city, and while I still love Denver, I miss running into my fifth grade teacher at the Target down the street :) Thanks for sharing Stella!

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Awww, loved this comment, Vaish! Thank you for writing. xoxoxo

  22. Abby says...

    I grew up in southern CA and now live in southwest Ohio. I miss the smell of salt air, good fresh sushi, my family, being able to tell directions by where the mountains are, the way my flyaways curl at the beach, tacos, flip flops (rainbows) year round, perfectly ripe, juicy oranges from my parent’s trees. Things I don’t miss: traffic, no left turn yield green lights, image-obsessed people, sunburns. My husband and I are moving back in two months and I cannot wait.

    • Carol says...

      Ha! I live in Salt Lake City and I totally tell the direction by where the mountains are!

    • Mandy says...

      I also moved away from LA, and I totally agree about the mountains! I moved to Austin first which is so flat, and I was lost all the time! I now live in Western Mass which does have a few sizeable hills, so I feel a bit better.

      I also miss great farmers markets all year long, goooood Chinese and Vietnamese food, and amazing sunsets.

  23. Kelsey says...

    I grew up about 2 hours south of Springfield in a small town in north central Arkansas – we used to take trips to Branson and Springfield for fun in high school! The Battlefield mall was the closest “mall” and I remember begging my mom to take me shopping when I was growing up (lol). After graduating college last May for the University of Arkansas, I took a job offer in Salt Lake City, UT where I currently live. I just got back yesterday from my first trip home since moving here in October and I can totally relate to this post. I took home for granted and really found myself appreciating the Ozarks more since my visit. I also forgot about KY3 news… One thing I do not miss! Xoxo

  24. Lili says...

    Not sure if this is the most relevant place to post this question but I thought it was more fitting than the 5 hair problems solvers – so here goes!

    My roommate and I are both 23 and have been best friends since 1996 (20 years!). We both moved back to LA after college and moved in together shortly thereafter. We both work hard and often and still have no money. Last night, while walking her dog, we got on the subject of adventure. Sometimes it seems like all you should be doing with your 20’s is making crazy choices and doing romantic, wild things that will end up looking great in photos. On the other hand, there is a strong (and financial) pressure to work incredibly hard and be a young achiever, or even just an achiever of any age. What I’m asking here, a bit sheepishly, is do you have any advice for people in their early 20’s? Would you recommend going off the grid and having adventures or would you prescribe staying on your grind to meet your goals?


    • Agnes says...

      Speaking as someone who went ‘off-grid’ from 1990-2002 (age 18-30) I have experiences, friendships, adventures and stories that I am so glad I now have. Also a bonus that it was before social media :) But I think it really depends on personality. I would have been SO unhappy if I hadn’t done that. Others might have felt differently. I am now a qualified psychologist. Adventures don’t have to cancel out achievement, you just might need to consider doing things one after the other. Although with the advent of the internet, there are a million more options too.. good luck, and lucky you to have your whole life ahead of you!! :)

    • I love this question! I’m 27 and am now reflecting on how much more I wish I would’ve done in my early 20s.. It’s not that I didn’t want to, or couldn’t have at the time, but more of I was “supposed” to be building my career, “supposed” to be financially responsible, “supposed” to get a 9-5.

      Totally by accident, I am currently on a track to “meet those career/financial goals” and I tell my husband all the time that I will feel like an utter failure if by the time I’m 35 all I have accomplished is “moving up the corporate ladder” and “making a $100k salary.” He absolutely can’t understand that, but it’s so true for me. (Btw, I am currently, currently on a course to break out of this mold!!!!! But its something that I definitely wish I would’ve gotten started on at 23 or earlier!)

      Not that any of those things are wrong, but it’s extremely suffocating for someone who actually isn’t “supposed” to do those things! Now days there are sooooo many avenues and opportunities for passive income!

      By all means, do not be irresponsible, but definitely check out other opportunities that more align with your values and desires!!

    • Lili says...

      Thank you!

    • Hannah says...

      Lili, I can so relate! I am 25 – and battle this sort of thing. I ended up staying at home longer than I should have after college because I felt that I “should settle and build a career” but it ended up making me really, really unhappy. I actually figured out that if you want to go out and do adventures, abroad in this case, it can be much cheaper than in the US. Depends of course where we are talking about abroad, and in the US as well, but it’s possible to have both.

      I’m on a working holiday visa in New Zealand, and you can do it in Australia as well, make decent money, have a job in your career field, and have adventure all at the same time by using your plentiful vacation time (compared to the US!) to see the country. I work at an employment agency, and so many people come here and don’t sacrifice their career or being financially smart by moving here for a change!

      No matter what it’s really hard to break from societal pressures to do this or that (which can contradict each other: have a million adventures AND advance rapidly up the corporate ladder AND have wild romance flings AND meet your husband AND enjoy the single life while you can). Do what feels right in your heart!

    • Cazmina says...

      It can be tough to go off on adventures and watch all of your friends moving up in their careers, being in solid financial positions, buying houses etc. I want those things too, I just feel like I can get to them later (though I do have occasional panicked thoughts about whether I’m going to be prepared for retirement etc, eek!) However, the grass is always greener and there are pros and cons no matter what you do. If you want to, you can find a way to squeeze some adventure into your life while still achieving your career/financial goals – it may just take a bit longer or a different form than you envisioned.
      For me personally, I’m so glad that I went off to adventure. Even when things have gone wrong, I still think of it all as a life experience and a puzzle piece of the person I am still growing to be.

  25. Emily says...

    the thing i miss the most:
    1. seeing someone i know everywhere i go

    the thing i miss the least:
    1. not being able to go anywhere without seeing someone i know

    but really… my hometown is in georgia and i’m in texas, and the physical things i miss are all smells in spring and summer. gardenia, honeysuckle and so much greenery.

  26. Jeannie says...

    what about if you never left your hometown? and your hometown is where every person decided to move to?
    I grew up in nyc and yes yes it’s cool etc but it’s still home to me. i still feel nostalgia about lots of aspects of NYC like someone might feel about porch swings. It’s a bit tough hearing people complain about things about my home “town,” which I love. People sneer at taking the bus, how dirty it is, how their neighbors are loud (hello apartment living), how crowded the subway is… etc etc. These are things that make me feel like i’m home. :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s such an interesting point — it’s funny that your hometown is the subject of so many movies, tv shows, etc. too!

  27. jody marie says...

    yessss to porch swings and sweet street names. yes to roller skates and those sunsets! and those school teachers that are neighbors.

    yes to those leeches–don’t miss those!

    I’m from St. Charles MO and live in DC now and it’s amazing to go home, for all your reasons, and even more amazing to leave again.

    Yes to everywhere that brings you life–but most of all yes to the moments where we stop and appreciate them.


  28. Stella, you forgot to mention the possibility of a Brad Pitt sighting. ;-) I went to college in Bolivar, MO and spent weekends visiting Springfield. Such a great list and I couldn’t agree more about all…especially the brown recluse spider ;-)

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Hahaha, hi, Tricia! The possibility of a Brad Pitt sighting is a big one!!!

      Thank you for writing.

  29. Brianna says...

    I moved from Los Angeles to Las Vegas when I was 10 and then from Las Vegas to Reno when I was 32. None of these places are really home to me. It’s very strange to not really have a place to consider home. I left LA when I was young, so while I remember some things about it, not much is ingrained in my memory. I lived in Vegas for more than 20 years, but have no friends or family there, so no reason to visit. I’ve been in Reno just over three years, so maybe someday it will be home, but I don’t know. It’s hard.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Thinking of you Brianna! xoxoxox

  30. Mariana says...

    I moved from a small town in Portugal to Warsaw, Poland, almost 1 and a half years ago. While I go home every few months, I can’t help but notice that things have changed every time I visit.

    Things I miss:
    – My parents, sister and grandma
    – Waking up in the middle of the night with pain in my legs because my 3 cats decided to sleep on top of them at the same time
    – Being able to go out for coffee with my friends every night, to the same place, at the same time
    – The food (to this day my mum still brings some staples to the airport so I can eat them during our drive home)
    – Sitting on the couch watching tv (I share a flat and having a TV is probably the thing I miss having the most)
    – The smell of grilled sardines during the “Santos Populares” season and drinking buckets of vodka and lemon juice for 5 Euro while walking around my hometown
    – Going to the park on Sunday afternoon and going to the river for a swim at the end of the day when some of my friends get out of work
    – Knowing exactly where to buy certain things
    – My car (seriously, some days I just wish I wouldn’t have to rely on public transportation)

    Things I don’t miss:
    – My downstairs neighbours
    – My aunts giving me panic attacks because I didn’t visit them whenever they felt like it and then trying to make me feel guilty about it
    – Everyone knowing who I am and going around telling everyone what I do/don’t do/ who I’m dating/ I’m back
    – The small town mentality

    And while I’ll live in Warsaw for at least another year, I already know what I’m going to miss:
    – My friends (who are like my family)
    – Summer nights spent at the Vistula beach
    – Cherry Soplica (which I now have to bring home whenever I visit because my friends love it just as much as I do)
    – Meat pierogi, grilled kielbasa, and cheesecake
    – A good public transportation system
    – The snow falling at night with the city lights making it look like you’re in a movie
    – The absurd amount of parks you can go to
    – 24-hour stores (whoever created them was a genius)

    I have to say, I won’t miss living in -20ºC in the Winter and 40ºC in the Summer, though

  31. I grew up on the upper west side and really miss:

    1. spotting beautiful shoes on the street
    2. ducking into corner bookstores
    4. the feeling of having 1,000 neighbors
    5. Madewell

    and things I don’t miss:
    1. pigeons
    2. those terrifying puddles in subway stations

  32. i moved away from ‘home’ (dayton, oh) when i got married. we spent nearly 5 years away mostly in southern california when we decided to go ‘home’ now that we had kids. we lasted less than 2 years. it was really just about 4 months back there when we realized that it wasn’t ‘home’ anymore. we had made our own home with our children in southern california and ohio didn’t hold anything for us anymore. so 4 months ago we moved back to socal and have been so relieved to know exactly where we’re supposed to be. sometimes you can’t go home. but sometimes you gotta try to really figure out where you’re meant to be.

  33. I took a trip back to my hometown (White Plains, NY) with my husband and three daughters in tow. It was one of the greatest, most magical things I’ve ever done.

    The things I missed most: my elementary school playground, my grandmother’s front garden and the park across the street from her house, snow cones from my favorite GOOD HUMOR truck, White Plains High School, and Highlands Intermediate school where I became the person I am today.

    The places I no longer missed but needed to bring closure to: the apartment where I grew up, the field where the first boy I loved had broken my heart, and East View Middle School, where the echoes of getting called “white girl” and “conceited” and the 80s crack epidemic all but stifled my adolescence, and ring in my head till this day.

  34. I moved from Italy to New York 2 months ago and seems like a year.
    Was always a dream of mine to live in America…but my Florence in Tuscany is one of a kind and I miss everyday my Italian way of life.

    But I don’t regret anything! :)
    Thank you for sharing… love your blog!

  35. Springfield sounds like a cute town. I still live in my hometown, but I moved to study in another city and came back, and then lived for a couple of months in USA and Chile. Both amazing experiences. Right now I’m waiting for a visa to move to Colombia for a couple of months or years, still not sure. Who knows!? The good thing is that I always know I have a home in my hometown waiting for me in case I want to go back.

  36. I srated crying when I read this. I havent been home for 7 years and I havent seen my mother and family in real life. Sometimes I was thinking if they are real or just pixels because I only see them on skype. I miss home and i just want to see my family so much it hurts my chest physically.

  37. I’ve moved away from home when I was 17 and I really never came back. And I’m 38! Six years ago I moved abroad and that’s when I realized that even though I miss things about my hometown, it’s the people I miss the most. In fact, if you think about it a huge part of your list is related to people, not things. Our memories are mostly related to people not places, I guess. I miss my childhood with my grandparents, not the place where I lived with them. Of course, coming back is always comforting, but those memories and feelings are inside me and I come back to them whenever I feel lonely or away from “home”. As the years have passed I don’t feel the need to come back to my hometown that much, since my hometown and my childhood memories have moved abroad with me.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      “my childhood memories have moved abroad with me” — love that, e!

  38. Lo says...

    I’ve only moved 15 minutes away from my hometown, but I get the feels when I drive the windy road back to my home turf.

    I miss seeing faces of those people I went to high school with, who I either never notice outside of the town, or who never leave the town… I also miss the driveby’s of familiar places:

    -The oak tree decorated with drippy stars every December
    -The field where I had my first kiss with a dearly missed, departed friend
    -The cemetery we used to walk through to high school, and the angel shaped gravestones
    -The wooden climbing frames all the teenagers congregated on to sunbathe in the ‘height’ of British summertime

    Whilst I’m not far away, I’ve made my peace that I will probably never live there again, and that’s ok. It’s nice to know so many years of my life are imprinted into the pathways and parks around the town.


  39. I miss:
    1. Driving down a country road in between two solid walls of pine trees.
    2. The sound of my mom cracking open a Miller Lite after mowing.
    3. Driving across town in just five minutes.
    4. Sitting around the kitchen bar until the wee hours, solving all the world’s problems.
    5. Wondering about the future and what life would be like when I moved.

    I don’t miss:
    1. Seeing literally everyone (and their mother) at the grocery store.
    2. The lack of mystery; the concept of a “stranger.”
    3. Good coffee being at least 45 minutes away.
    4. Only having the dining out choices of Mexican or fast food.
    5. The closed-mindedness, though I have learned that is something that is everywhere.

    This was fun. Loved your list :)

  40. Maya Angelou is always so wise :-) I don’t know how you’re coping for this long without Andrew!! You must be made of tough stuff.

    My hometown is Sydney, Australia… and I really miss going to the local pub and knowing I’ll bump into at least one sibling/cousin/friend.

  41. Marie says...

    I’ve moved so many times…I left my hometown when I was 10 years. I was born in Brussels, Belgium. I obviously remember things about it, especially since I occasionally go back to visit my grand parents. But do I miss anything about it? Good Belgian chocolate maybe…and Belgian waffles. Other that I have little attachment to my “hometown”. Brussels is not exactly a nice-looking city.
    Because I have moved around so much, I never felt any real attachment to a city I lived in (is that a sad thing?). Until I moved to Montreal. Because I love this city I know have a real attachment to it.

  42. What a sweet post. It made me wish I had a hometown. I moved so much as kid and then as an adult, I don’t have one. Though it’s nice to read about other’s experience.

  43. Lara says...

    So beautiful!!! Thank you for sharing.

  44. Makenzie says...

    I loved, loved, loved this post Stella! Thank you for writing it. I too am far away from home and miss so much about it. But I also can appreciate the seemingly insignificant of where I live now! Oregon will always have my heart (and really, who doesn’t love Portland?!) and family but I love that I get to be a (maybe) temporary Texan :)

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Thank you so much, Makenzie! A ” temporary Texan” – haha, love!!!

  45. This reminds me of the number one exercise that has helped me to learn contentment. When I am feeling restless or even unhappy, I make a list of the things I’d miss if my situation changed. For example, I once was promoted to a job I wasn’t sure I wanted, but I felt like I needed to give it a real shot. So I listed all the things I’d miss — big and small — if I ended up switching jobs: the first cup of coffee I’d make while listening to the morning news in the office, the fun committee meetings (!), the awesome work-issued tech, my favorite colleagues. Focusing on those things, knowing they likely wouldn’t last forever (in fact, I ended up moving overseas a year later), worked — before I knew it, I genuinely loved my job.

    • Rue says...

      This is brilliant, thanks for sharing! Putting it directly on my to-do list for both personal and work life.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Great tip, Kate! Thank you so much for sharing :)

  46. Tarpon Springs, FL

    Things I miss
    Greek food (amazing chicken slouvaki from Mykanos at the Sponge Docks)
    Living a 5-minute walk from the beach
    Tricia, Jennie, Brianna, Lerin and Leslie
    The mall with the carousel
    Being a young mom there
    Being a teenager and a tween there
    Back yard swing hanging from the tall branch

    Things I don’t miss
    30 minute drive to everywhere
    Affluence everywhere
    Tarpon Springs High School
    So many cars and so many wide roads

    Leeds, England
    Things I miss
    Daffodils lining the fence
    Rose bushes lining the vegetable garden
    Worms to be dug up and put in a big bucket of soil
    Buttercups across the fields behind the house
    The Old Oak Tree
    Sophie, Mosey, Hilda, Leila
    Tall Cindy doll house
    Everything in walking distance
    Quaint and beautiful town with shops and school and fields right there
    Paddling pool in the back yard on a warm summers day
    Dad making us broomsticks on halloween and playing witches and wizards with the neighborhood kids
    Hearing airplanes form the nearby airport I never saw
    Camping holidays in the caravan in France and Cornwall
    The National Trust
    Dance class
    White knee socks and warm dresses with red leather Mary-Janes
    Going to the butchers and the bakers and the fish and chip shop
    Snow…and the sand pit filling up with water and icing over to make beautiful patterns that we could lift with our gloves with dolls darned on each finger.
    Watching glistening raindrops meet and run down as 1 big raindrop on the car window at night, when driving home from Grandma Hilda’s house.
    Looking at lighted houses shimmering in the rain and patterned across valleys below us when traveling the small winding roads from Grandma Hilda’s house.
    Making fairy houses in Hilda’s backyard
    Tara and Connor
    Bonfire night at Jaquie’s house
    Bonfire night toffee and Catherine Wheels
    Waking up in the tent somewhere in England, next to my sleeping sisters, to hear morning doves and light rain while cozy in my sleeping bag.
    Walking barefoot along the brook over round smooth stones, with Dad and sisters, to see where it leads to and watching our Golden lab catch fish with his snout
    Putting paper boats in the Canal and reciting the Robert Lewis Stevenson Poem, “Where Go the Boats”
    Watching tadpoles turn in to frogs in the chicken-wire-covered pond and putting in the goldfish that we got at the fair.

    Things I don’t miss
    My grumpy grandfather who rode to visit us on his motorcycle wearing the leather biking clothes he cut and sewed himself.
    The gray winters and cold rain
    Dark at 4pm when walking home from school
    Falling asleep alone in the dark and wolf nightmares from reading Little Red Riding Hood
    Chicken pox

  47. I’m from a small lakeside town in West Michigan and now live in Colorado. I just moved back to Colorado after spending a year living back in Michigan after spending 10 years living in Colorado. I might have been born, raised and gone to college in Michigan, but it never really felt like home. I always felt restless, like something was missing and like it had to do with place. And when I moved to Colorado I found it, it was like my soul finally found its home here. But then I missed my family so much that I decided to try living back in Michigan, but I found the pull of the sum total of things I missed about Colorado was too great so I moved back. And it’s like … well, yesterday was a rough day of dealing with the DMV and balancing a new job (which is trying to make a go of freelancing) – it was exhausting – but then I looked up and saw the sun and the mountains and I felt like it’s all going to be ok because at least I’m in the right place … it’s like bad days here are better than any day anywhere else. Anyway …

    Things I miss about Michigan when I’m in Colorado:
    – My family
    – Lake Michigan
    – Thunderstorms and massive rain showers (especially at night)
    – The fact that it stays light out in the summer until nearly 10 p.m.

    Things I miss about Colorado when I’m in Michigan:
    – The people
    – The mountains
    – The dry air
    – The sunshine

    Things I never miss about Michigan:
    – The humidity
    – The clouds
    – The bugs (mosquitos!)

    Things I never miss about Colorado:
    – The I-70 traffic
    – The pressure to always being doing something active (I love a long hike as much as the next gal but sometimes you just need a day to sit on the couch)
    – The cost of housing (nothing, I know, in comparison to cities like NYC and San Fransisco, but man was it painful to give up my giant $650/month apartment in Michigan to pay more than that to rent just a room in Colorado)

    • I just found this post and moved to CO from MI when I was 8. “My lake” is Huron. Your list totally resonates with me – I’m so glad I saw your post as I sometimes romanticize what it’d be like to move back to MI where all my cousins and great aunts and two grandmas still live… I would add lightning bugs to the list of things I miss and chain restaurants to the list of things I don’t! :) OH! And yes – the pressure to be active all the time is REAL! In winter I LOVE IT when we get socked in by a big snowstorm. It’s like, “Okay… I definitely don’t have to be out for a hike today. ” HA!

  48. Carrie Ellegaard says...

    All of your posts are so enlightening, Stella! That quote from Maya Angelou is so true! Just the short time we moved away to Denmark. I never left home in my mind while we were there, but even now that we’ve been home for over 3 years, there’s still something slightly different than before. I never been able to figure out why, but now I think I know?

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Carrie, you made my night. Thank you for your sweet comment. Means so much. xxoxoxoxoxo

  49. It has been almost three years since moving to Portland, Oregon from the Central Coast of California. The one thing I miss the most!? THE BEAUTIFUL WEATHER! I didn’t realize how lucky I had it growing up, but it makes visiting home that much better. And that Target comment? SO TRUE.

  50. Natalie says...

    Oh man, this is so close to home for me. I’m from Plainfield, IL and moved to Charleston, SC after college and am now working on moving to New York (shoutout to Stella for answering my Instagram message about Brooklyn studio apartments!!). I’ve been reflecting on this topic a lot lately. I miss my family and friends, always, but that’s literally it. I know I’ll miss 5 million things about Charleston – thinking about it gives me goose bumps – but change is so, so good. xx

  51. Shannon says...

    Springfield, MO was home for three years for college. I miss Tea Bar and Bites, beers at Patton Alley Pup, hiking at the Nature Center, First Friday Art Walk, Korean BBQ from Soo’s, STD Flea Market, the dynamics between the hippies and the Baptists, the annual ceramics sale at Missouri State, the Moon City Review, and Big Smith shows. I hope you are able to make it home often.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Love all of those things so, so much, Shannon. Thank you for sharing. Laughing at “the dynamics between the hippies and the Baptists.”

      Tea Bar, Moon City Review and Big Smith. <3333333

    • amanda june says...

      yesss tea bar!!! one of my happiest places in the world. home for me is beijing now, but every few years, i love a quiet morning at tea bar.

  52. Cazmina says...

    It’s been almost 5 years since I moved from Western Australia to Europe.
    Things I miss: my family and friends, perfect beaches, the sound of kookaburras, vegemite scrolls, barbecues, Christmas in summer, chips with chicken salt, coastal sunsets, driving, outdoor cinemas, having a backyard, balmy summer nights, thunderstorms and heavy rain on a tin roof.
    Things I don’t miss: expensive eating and drinking out, paying for taxis on a night out, spiders, insects, 40 degree days, swooping magpies.

    • Jackie says...

      Oh my goodness, yes yes yes. (Another Aussie living abroad). And chocolate paddlepops!

    • I lived in WA for 2 years and there is so much I miss about living there since I moved back home to Ireland! Mostly Tim Tams, amazing sunsets, being able to go to the beach after work, Emus walking through the streets of town like locals and playing 2-up on Anzac Day!

    • Laura- says...

      agreed! Also miss lying on the trampoline waiting for the first stars to come out, miss the relaxed australian business culture, miss the predictable weather, miss the support network for my 2yo daughter (read grandparents babysitting), miss the vast skies in Aus, miss the mangoes and mango weiss bars. And violet crumbles. Miss those.

      Don’t miss (in addition to what you’ve written): mosquitoes, complexity of doing tax returns, 7 months of summer – sweat moustache, sweat dripping between the boobs, don’t miss the lethargy from said 7 month summer.

  53. Sarah says...

    I love this! I moved to New Orleans from a small town in SW Louisiana and now consider NOLA my hometown. Either way, the two places don’t feel too different because south Louisiana has a strong shared culture. But in a few months I’ll be moving to Chicago! So I’ve actually been thinking about this a lot- what will I miss? What won’t I miss?

    Funnily enough, driving to Target is on my list too! I think I’ll miss the humidity (I’m in the small but mighty humidity fan club), crawfish, seeing live local music basically whenever I want for free or next to free, being able to drive to see my parents, and all of the oak trees.

    I won’t miss giant cockroaches or the termite swarms. I am so excited to leave those things behind.

    • JR says...

      +1 for humidity fan club! I’m from swampy-humid Chicago and now live in Colorado, where everyone’s always going on and on about how wonderful the dry air is. UMMM not when you’re waking up with skin that’s physically cracking and a bloody nose every day! I miss the humidity so much.

  54. Cind says...

    I grew up in Northern California— that is home to me. I’ve been stuck in Michigan for 23 years. I am not a fan. I miss dry heat. I so dislike snow-ice storms-freezing rain…. winter here is really long. Orange barrels or snow plows seem to determine the seasons here. Road work in one sense or another.

    • Nicole says...

      Cind, come back! I just returned after 16 years in NY and NJ. No, it’s not the same–but it’s awesome.

    • Aly says...

      I sympathize with you. I live in IN. I don’t care for it. I’m guessing, like me, you can’t simply just leave due to the circumstances. Someday….

  55. Sarah says...

    I’m from Omaha, NE and moved away 7 years ago–first to NYC, then to SF, where I’ve lived the past 5 years. At first, I never missed it and was so glad I moved away. Winters! Ugh! But now as I approach 30, I’m beginning to hear the siren call of home. I miss my family and want to be closer to them–especially if I start my own family someday. And in Omaha I could buy a house–something I will never be able to afford in the Bay Area! I definitely don’t regret leaving, and I don’t think moving back home means that I’ll have “failed.” But maybe the purpose of moving away in my 20s was to figure out what “home” really is and what’s important to me–something I wouldn’t have figured out if I had stayed.

  56. Christine Hart says...

    FYI…lead can make your water taste sweet.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Oh no, Christine, haha, I had a feeling…

  57. I grew up in a suburb of Detroit and now live in Southwest Florida. I miss good, cheap Middle Eastern food, the seasons, close proximity to extended family, Coney Islands, Michigan football games, and cider mills. And yes, half of those are food.

  58. Leah says...

    I was so happy to leave northern Virginia when I moved to NYC 10 years ago, but now I miss it all the time. I think part of it just comes from growing older and thinking about how carefree my childhood was. Some of the parts that I miss the most:
    – The sound of crickets and mourning doves on summer evenings.
    – (And from when I was really little, the sound of a slamming screen door as we ran outside to catch fireflies.)
    – Honeysuckle.
    – Driving with the windows down and the radio up in the summer, smoking a cheeky cigarette ;)
    – Eating the best pho outside of Vietnam at a dinky restaurant in a strip mall.
    – Buying wine at the grocery store.
    – Chatting with strangers in line at the grocery store.
    – Going on long drives to the countryside.
    – Being my mom’s sous chef.
    – Staying up late to watch Letterman (now Colbert) with my dad.
    – Seeing my old friends, who are at different stages in life with kids and mortgages, but are still my people.

  59. Diana says...

    I’m a NY native (annoying for me to post here, I know), and I’d like to share the ways that NYC can feel like a small town.

    1. My elderly neighbors throw a pizza party in their basement apartment sometimes and invite a few people in our building. It’s the sweetest.

    2. Every once in a while I’ll sit in on a Community Board meeting and they get really heated sometimes and people start shouting, so sometimes I’ll just yell “yeah!” even though I have little stake in what’s going on.

    3. I go to the same coffee shop every weekend at the same time, because I’m desperate to be a regular in a neighborhood that keeps changing. After 2 years, my barista and I have finally moved past “hey” and onto full conversations and sometimes it becomes such a highlight of my day.

    4. There’s a neighborhood in Brooklyn (close to DUMBO) where all the streets are named after fruits and there also happens to be a “Love Lane,” and in the springtime all the trees have bloomed and the fallen petals cover the whole street and it just feels super whimsical as opposed to the numbered streets covered in garbage that you see everyday.

    Yea, it’s a small list.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Aw, Diana, this list is so lovely. Thank you!!

  60. Hayley says...

    I would love if the Cup of Jo team did a piece on their various experiences moving to New York. How you moved, what you’ve learned, what you think makes a real New Yorker, etc!

    • Erin says...

      Great idea!

    • Leah says...

      Yes PLEASE!

  61. I am visiting home as I write this and it’s funny and so true about Target! I never go to Target in New York but it is definitely one of the shopping things I miss most about home. (sigh).

    • Kelsey says...

      There’s a new one at City Point in Brooklyn that’s still totally pristine! Go while it lasts!!!

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      BEST TIP EVER! Thanks Kelsey!