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. Kara says...

    I grew up in Colorado, and now I live in Portland. I’ve been here for seven years. I got married here, had a baby here. I’ve lived in and been to many other places, but Portland is my favorite. That being said, here are the things I miss about Colorado:
    -Getting up stupid early to make it to the lift opening on a snowboard/ski day. I love to sleep. I don’t get up early. But I will get up early for that.
    -Mexican food, and, now that I think about it, Mexican people
    -Stella’s coffee haus in Denver, specifically going there with my theater nerd friends. (And picking up broody dudes to have dumb, short, dramatic flings with. Stella’s was always good for that.)
    -Winning the Mercury Cafe Poetry Slam
    -Losing the Mercury Cafe Poetry Slam
    -Hungover Brunch, although when I moved to Portland I was not in short supply of that here. Fewer huevos rancheros options, though.
    -Snow days

    Things I do not miss:
    -the goddamn sun. The brightest sun ever, always lighting up the sidewalk so that it burns your retinas right out of your eyeballs. 300 sunny days a f$&@ing year. NO. STOP IT.
    -The air being so dry that you go through a bottle of lotion a month and you STILL wake up itchy, and think it’s normal to blow a bloody Kleenex every day for ten straight years. (It’s not)
    -the genuine stress of elections in a swing state, although Colorado is getting bluer and bluer
    -the sprawl. Target/Chilis/Starbucks/Panera Repeat. Over and over. Suburban hellscape all around, in every direction.
    -Running into the dude from Stella’s at City O City five years later and really hoping you look like a healthy, chill adult, but knowing he follows you on social media, and is therefore aware that you are Not.
    -Broncos Game traffic

  2. I’ll have been living in MN for 18 years this fall, moved here from Topeka, Kansas. I miss my friends, my family, the cheaper cost of living, the fact that spring starts when it’s SUPPOSED to start, the KC barbecue, and this little dinky taco place called Taco Villa. I do NOT miss the closed-minded right wingers, the bible bangers (and no, none of that is that stereotypical, although it is changing slightly thanks to my generation), the Phelps Westboro clan, or the fact there really isn’t that much to do or go see. I really like all the parks and trails and shopping and culture MN has to offer!

  3. Sarah R says...

    I moved to Denver from the Detroit area six years ago, and while I feel very planted in this city, I still miss home. The smell of lilacs blooming automatically made me think of my mom’s backyard garden. Overall, I don’t ever want to live there again, but home is home, and hopefully, even as we grow and travel the world, there still will be no place like it. <3

  4. Like a few other commenters I moved my whole childhood (Dad was Navy). Then as an adult I continued to move every three years or so… until I came to Virginia, where I have been for over 20 years now. So I have no place in my past I would consider a hometown. I don’t think I really learned how to have one… I don’t even think of where I am now as my home town. But I know where my home is. And my friends and the one I love. And for now that is right here.
    What I would say though, is that while I never considered any of the places lived to be my hometown, I miss things about each one as if they had been. Every place you live can be your home, if you let it.
    Texas… the sweet smell of the spring night air
    California… the brilliant bird-of-paradise, and avacodo and lemon trees in our yard
    NYC… the art and theatre and museums and the Mets!
    Pittsburgh… my cute little attic apartment and Primanti Bros sandwiches after the bars closed
    Wisconsin… Dairy Day in the summer and canoe trips on the river
    Japan… deep soaking bathtubs, ahhhhhhhhh
    Shenandoah Valley, VA… the most beautiful place in the country in the spring… I’ve never seen the like of redbuds, cherry tree, serviceberry, fringe tree, dogwoods, and more and more and more

  5. Claire says...

    We moved from a suburban town outside of Detroit to Dallas about six years a go. I miss our family, I miss how the night cools the Earth enough in the summer that you can open your windows and not have it stifling hot at 11pm, I miss Up North, I miss the leaves changing color, people wearing hoodies and being there for all the family activities. I miss having a sense of history in a place, even if it’s just a few generations.

    I don’t miss seeing the majority of people I went to school with at every turn, I don’t miss the 4 days after the first snow and the following 4 months of dirty sludge and salt packed on my car. I don’t miss the humidity or the potholes.

    • Hillary says...

      As a fellow Michigander I agree with all of this!

  6. Li says...

    I moved from Budapest, Hungary to Brooklyn, NY when I was 13 in pursuit of better education. I not only left my hometown and friends, I also left my parents. My sister lived in NY so I wasn’t completely alone, but it was quite a change to live with someone who was also trying to figure out her life and who now, must take care of a teenager. Now that I am the age that my sister was, I admire her so incredibly much for going to school, working, and taking care of a teenager. She was so strong and brave. The memories I miss the most from Budapest surround our huge cherry tree… it was taller than our three-story house and produced so, so many fresh, plump, burgundy colored cherries. I so fondly remember my dad using our tallest ladder to climb high in the tree to pick cherries, and he would shout, “Li, are you ready?” I’d reply, “yes!” and wait for him to drop small bunches of cherries and I’d run to catch them in my basket. After we gathered enough, my mom would wash them, and then we’d all gather around the huge basket to eat the fresh cherries. This would happen just about everyday during the summer months, and it’s one of my fondest memories. I’ve never bought cherries since I moved, because no cherry will ever taste as good as the ones shared with my family.

    • Laura says...

      This is such a beautiful memory, Li. It actually makes me cry a little bit, remembering a beautiful crab apple tree we used to have growing up that would be full of white blossoms every spring. Nothing close to the cherries you must have had, but it touched me just the same. Thank you for sharing.

    • This brought tears to my eyes! Thank you for sharing. ❤

    • I agree, this is such a beautiful story.

    • Barbara says...

      wow…what a loving tribute to home!

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      This is so beautiful, Li. Thank you for writing. xoxoxox

  7. Jessica says...

    My husband and I met and started dating in high school. We went away to college, got married, then moved overseas for work and had our first child there. Eleven years after going away to college, we moved “home”. Everything had changed. My parents relocated for work years before. Most of our friends were gone and the ones that were still around were so different from us that it didn’t work. What has happened is we’ve started a whole new life in the place we grew up. And we really enjoy it.

  8. Kristiana says...

    I loved reading this sentimental post!
    I moved from a tiny Lake Michigan beach town, in Michigan, and moved to Kansas City, MO, a few years ago.
    I miss the fact that there was water right outside my doorstep, the sound of waves in the evenings, and the cute touristy beach towns all up the coast of Lake Michigan.
    I miss kayaking, gorgeous lakeside sunsets, and mornings spent walking to the town square. Both of my parents still live there, so of course I miss them. It’s always something to look forward too when my brother and sister-in-law and I meet up at the house for holidays.

    I do not miss the crazy Michigan winters, ice storms, and basically going straight from winter to summer…I never really remember springtime.
    I don’t entirely miss the small town feel of everyone knowing everyone and everything :)
    Home brings so many memories, but here’s to making new memories in KCMO! Love this city and am adventuring whenever I can.
    Love the Maya Angelou quote, too. xx

    • Hillary says...

      I’m also from W. MI and I agree with these sentiments.

  9. I moved from a very small town in southern New Jersey to Brooklyn in 2009 (after spending 4 years at college in a NJ suburb of NYC, so really I left my hometown in 2005). While my hometown is only about 3 hours away, it’s worlds away culturally. I miss my sister, Wawa, having a dog, swimming in my dad’s pool, roadside produce stands, and walking around barefoot in the summer. I don’t miss family obligations and drama, the small-mindedness of small town life, or being isolated because I don’t drive. Honestly, I only really miss anything from home, except for my sister, when specifically asked. Moving away was such a pivotal, defining part of my life and I would never, ever go back. Visiting for more than a few days feels stifling.

    • Caroline says...

      I love Wawa! I wish we had it here. Also Rita’s Water Ice.

  10. MD says...

    I’ve been reading Cup of Jo for a few years and this is my first comment. Felt compelled to say thank you for posting this, because it’s been on my mind for a while now. I feel like we see (mostly on social media) people we know move around and it all seems so matter-of-fact, but in reality, moving is emotional, fun, sad, hard, thrilling, etc. We never peel back the curtain of each others lives — in reality we’re all only the protagonist in our own story, and everyone else is their own protagonist, with their own challenges, even if their lives seem so seamless. I grew up in the midwest too and moved east for college. I always thought I’d move straight back to the big city near my hometown, but got into grad school in DC and stayed to work for a certain, recently ended, presidential administration. It was a dream job and made being away from my family a little easier. I’ve since moved up to NYC as well, doing similar work. It’s hard to be away from my family though! And I miss those midwestern storms, particularly heat lightning. And lying on a basketball court in the pitch black night, watching a meteor shower with friends. And hearing an old Good Humor truck rambling up my street, running barefoot out the door to try and catch it. Thanks too for that Maya Angelou quote. It helps!

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Thank you so much for writing, MD! Completely agree with your lovely words. <3

  11. I gotta say, there’s not a whole lot that I miss about my hometown of Albany, NY though I appreciate it more as an adult! I do miss NYC, where I lived from age 18 to age 28, when I moved to Connecticut.

    Things I miss about NYC:
    1. Being able to walk everywhere.
    2. Hanging out at the playground with other parents. We all fell into a routine and could count on seeing the same crowd at the playground at the same time of day, without a plan!
    3. Diversity. (I moved from a Jewish & Spanish enclave to umm….Connecticut, where people at the bagel shop looked at me like I had three heads when I asked for lox and people think C-Town is a Spanish supermarket!)

    Things I like about CT:
    1. Being an hour from the Catskills
    2. Being one hour closer to Western Mass
    3. Lots of hiking trails
    4. Having a backyard
    5. Having my kids in a tiny public school (our town has one elementary school, one middle school, and a high school we share with the next town over)

    PS Stella, there is a Cherry Street on the Lower East Side! (Not the same thing, I know… LOL)

  12. Genna says...

    My husband and I moved to DC three years ago, as boyfriend and girlfriend. We bought an old farmhouse south of the city and have been busy flipping it the last two years. We have chickens out back and a beautiful garden each summer. While I don’t love the geographic location, the hectic commute into D.C. and the intense summer heat, I do appreciate the things we have learned about ourselves since moving out here, really being on our own apart from our families back in upstate NY. The food scene is also spectacular. I do miss summer nights on lake Erie, seeing familiar faces while window shopping on Elmwood Ave or any aisle of any grocery store at any point. I miss being a twenty minute ride from my sisters and brothers, my mom asking what’s on the menu at family gatherings and the inevitable sheet pizza and 50 wings arriving and fights over the crust pieces.

    We revisit the idea of moving back from time to time and while I love the idea, I admittedly find myself wishing time would slow down until that day comes but everything seems to be moving so quickly. The closer we get to starting a family, the closer that conversation will become a reality because we both agree that we want to raise our children near family. We eloped last weekend in California after meeting in Missouri 10 years ago (and both from Buffalo!). It was the most beautiful experience of our life and maybe it would have looked a little different or more traditional had we stayed in NY.

    Really, I guess home will always be right where you make it.

  13. Meg says...

    Thank you for these memories you are all posting. I grew up in a small farming town by the sea in Victoria, Australia. I moved to Melbourne when I was 18 and had the time of my life in a beautiful, vibrant city. Six years later after travelling, I moved to Kent, England with my English husband and have been here for the last 23 years. The first time my hubby visited my hometown he couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. I saw it through his eyes and realised how lucky I was to grow up there. I miss swimming in the warm sea, the wildlife, dim sims, potato cakes and the freedom I had as a child being outdoors all day with no fear and having family nearby to do fun things with. I don’t miss the flies and the heat waves!

  14. I did move away from my hometown. I went from Saratoga Springs, NY to Las Vegas, NV. Very drastic change. I don’t miss the cold, cold winters, the humidity, mosquitos, horseflies, etc. I do miss the “small town” vibe, the downtown area, less traffic and most of all, my friends.

  15. Loesie says...

    OK. So here goes:

    What I miss:
    1- Spying on the backdoor neighbours.
    2- Buying Beverly Hills 90210 chewing gum for 5 cents at the candy store in hope of finally getting the sticker of Brandon and Donna.
    3- Our crazy dog, always walking in circles biting its own tail and licking the walls when the phone rang.
    4- Running for my life when the phone rang to get to the phone on time so the dog wouldn’t bite my butt (before it’d start licking the walls that is).
    5- My butt. (Where did it go?)
    6- Not being able to go on the internet because my Dad was on the phone.
    7- The sound of the modem when going on the internet and how it took forever. (Oh the relief when it worked!)
    8- The cat.
    9- Everything / everyone being in walking distance.
    10- The predictability of there always being food in the house.
    11- Grocery store employees asking for my ID because they think I’m not 16 yet.
    12- Not knowing what being an adult really means. Not having a clue about mortgage, insurance, thinking of what to eat for dinner tonight and all those other minor details in my adult life.

    What I don’t miss:
    1- The backdoor neighbours.
    2- People thinking they know who I am because they know my Mom.
    3- Worrying if I will ever find a person to marry.
    4- Feeling too young for everything.
    5- The awkwardness of trying not to run into that one guy.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      these are so sweet, loesie!!! stella and i are reading them aloud at the office and loving them. “Not being able to go on the internet because my Dad was on the phone.” = yes!!!!

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Loesie!!!!!!!!! This is seriously the best. So beautiful, too. Loved reading this.

      Also: “My butt. (Where did it go?)” Hahahahaha

    • Emily says...

      I love the list of nostalgia! I often wonder if what I miss from home is the actual place, or just a simpler time. I had a pretty easy going childhood and I think I miss that more than the town itself.

  16. elizabeth says...

    I’m one of those who moved from a tiny town in the Midwest to a big coastal city. I miss the sound of crickets, thunderstorms, the neighbors all being out on their porches in the evening while the kids ride bikes on the sidewalks, people who have known me since I was born, pepperoni rolls, fried fish sandwiches from the firehouse on Fridays, playing euchre for hours, the lack of traffic, my mom’s chicken and parmesan potatoes, walking by my grandparents’ old houses. I don’t miss the lack of diversity, lack of cultural attractions (museums, theaters, art movie houses), or the lack of dining options. But, most of all, I wish I could get from one to the other faster!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      awww, love these :)

    • Molly says...

      I second the Euchre for hours and pepperoni rolls. I swear it never gets old!

  17. Lisa says...

    I moved to WA state from KS four years ago (was born in Springfield) and your list really resonated with me – even made me tear up a bit here at work. I would add that I miss soft spring and fall breezes while sitting on the couch with windows open. The weather is so different/gloomy here much of the time. I loved the quote at the end of your story – I love visiting my hometown and the town I moved here from, but I don’t think I’ll move back. Those places are part of me, though, and I hold them dearly. Thanks.

    • Lisa says...

      To add – I also miss thunderstorms, lightening bugs and public outdoor swimming pools!

  18. Jenny says...

    I just love the Cup of Jo comment section! In all other forums (Facebook, new articles, popular Instagram accounts, YouTube, other blogs), I either trepidatiously dip a toe in the comment pool before quickly realizing that, as I’d feared, it’s full of leeches, or I outright avoid reading the comments all together. But the Cup of Jo team has fostered a community of bright, clever, and kind humans. Thank you to the women of Cup of Jo for building this community, and thank you fellow readers for making it what it is! <3

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      agree!!!!! :) :) :) :) :) :) love these commenters (our cup of jo ladies!) more than i can say.

    • Sarah says...

      I agree. This might be the only place in the internet world where I read the comments. I laugh, I cry, I nod my head in agreement, and so often learn a new perspective. I love this community! I feel like I’m part of great conversations each time.
      I moved to LA in my 20s and never looked back. But after a few blissful 80 degree winters I started missing autumn leaves, autumn coolness, and rain in general.

      Also miss big backyard peony bushes and rhubarb pie. Peonies and rhubarb– maybe the ONLY 2 things that grow better in Illinois than in SoCal.

      But Ive been here 10 years and I still walk outside each day noticing the sight of a crazy bougainvillea taking over a chain link fence and pinch myself.

  19. I can’t ever go home because I don’t have one. I’ve had bits & pieces of home along the way but never a place where I though, “ahh this is home.” (My mum still jokes about it saying my 1st plane ride was at a few months old.) Moving every few years was tough as a kid but it afforded me advantages as I grew up. And while I long for a time in which I’d see the American girls in my school talk about their hometowns and how their BFF’s are the same since childhood I’m happy to know I’ve had a plethora of experiences most people my age wouldn’t.

  20. Wow. I grew up in the Midwest, and many of these things ring so true.
    I miss Mexican food; that oppressive, damp summer heat; the smell of cut grass in that syrupy summer air; Target; my bank, where I worked in high school and for many years knew all the tellers; shopping malls; the smell of fall/leaves/apples/cider/football games; seeing deer; squirrels; air-conditioning smell when it’s really hot out; the way your nostrils almost stick together when it’s super cold out; the ability to know what change has been given to me just by the feel.

    • Kristiana says...

      Agree with all of these!! ☀️

  21. Abby says...

    I am also from Springfield, MO. I’ve been in NYC for 9 years now, and believe me, the list of things you miss grows smaller and smaller each year you’re here. The only real thing I miss now is my family. My suggestion is get yours to NYC as often as you can, immerse them in your life here so they love it too. And thunderstorms. I miss a good MO thunderstorm. Hang in there when you’re homesick. Andy’s frozen custard. I miss Andy’s

  22. I miss the food made by my mom and the comfort of home when I was away. Nothing can be as relaxing as the home.

  23. Laura says...

    When I was 18, I left Moscow Idaho (a teensy tinsey college town of less than 3,000 people) for good. I have bounced around the Southeast ever since with a stint in Zambia and Atlanta seems to have stuck. I miss the forests and mountains of the Northwest, but not the cold, bleak winters. I miss the priority of being outside and the priority of play over work. I do NOT miss the crazy conservative church that has deep roots in that town and the misogyny and bigotry the prop up. I miss going out and about in town and almost certainly running into someone you know. I do not miss the shopping sitch, which was abysmal unless you were on the hunt for hiking shoes or a rock climbing harness.

  24. Loesie says...

    Thanks so much for bringing up this topic! So much fun and melancholy to even start thinking about what to miss and what is good riddance…

  25. Whitney Kaye says...

    I loved my hometown growing up and also knew I would leave and explore other places. I don’t feel connected to that place anymore because it has changed so much and so have I. However, it was perfect for the time in life that I lived there and I have great memories of that time. No need for me to pretend that it is what it was when it is no longer. Everywhere I have lived since has left me with great memories of that time and I believe that will continue. My husband and small family LOVE where we live currently but are always open for what is next and where that may be. The world is such a beautiful place and I want to experience it and give back to it.

  26. I moved to NYC from the middle of nowhere Virginia. I have never looked back, and I don’t miss it. I totally wish I had some good memories!

  27. Maire says...

    I grew up in a small farming community and then moved about 2 hours away to Indianapolis for college. My parents no longer live in my hometown, but my best friend just moved back there after spending a few years in Australia, so now I have a reason to go back sometimes. I was just there a few weeks ago and it felt very small and sad. It felt like everyone had gotten so old, yet there were many new things that had changed about the town. It felt so foreign to me even though I loved growing up there and had a great community surrounding me as a kid. However, I do get nostalgic about a few things, including:

    1) The sweet smell of the humid air in the summer
    2) Hurtling down country roads surrounded by tall corn on both sides
    3) Seeing endless stars on a clear night
    4) Night time quiet.
    5) Shucking corn outside in the driveway with my mom while sitting on aluminum lawn chairs, and then eating cherry popsicles
    6) Riding my bike everywhere, but mostly to our lovely public library branch or the Dairy Queen
    7) Playing hide and seek in blueberry patches with my friends at twilight.

  28. Aimee says...

    Loved 9 and 15! Really all of them. My list from a small, isolated and beloved hometown:

    1. Passing all the places that hold so many memories–the parking lot where I used to wait with my siblings for our first bus, the movie theater we used to get let into for free by friends of a friend who worked there, roads and trails I used to run or, further back, trick or treat in

    2. Windy forested roads and porch views

    3. Walking to my “neighbors”, a good 35 minutes away

    4. The new fawns in our grass every spring

    5. French toast from our local diner, dollar shakes from our drive-thru, and French dips from the sandwich shop

    6. Pond swimming (and log rolling)

    7. Collecting flowers from our hill

    What I don’t miss:

    1. Being the only family member no longer at home, and missing all of life’s little celebrations

    2. The trucks roaring down the wrong side of the road on those windy mountains

    3. How all my friends have moved away, and many of their parents too

    4. The feeling like you know what life will look like for you 10 days from now as equally as 10 years from now

    5. The necessity of a car to get anywhere

  29. Loribeth says...

    We watered our horses in old enamel bathtubs rather than stock tanks because they were cheaper and easier to clean out. On clean out days, we would put on our bathing suits and “swim” in the bathtub we called a trough. It’s such a funny mental image to me now!

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      This has me laughing, Loribeth! Thanks for sharing.

    • Amy says...

      Yes – we had a bathtub sitting at the edge of a field with an automatic waterer in it for the dairy cows! Never thought it was weird until just now, but now I’m laughing at the mental image of a bathtub sitting in a field!

  30. Traci says...

    We moved from Springfield nearly 4 years ago, and I always think fondly of that sweet city. I’d add to your list rolling into Gailey’s at 9:30am on Saturday with sleepy eyes, knowing we’re an hour from getting a table & slurping coffee from fiestaware while we wait.
    When we go back, I always feel a sad tug in my heart at all that has changed about the city. It’s more than that though; we spent the first five years of our married life in SGF, and we started adding kids to our family once we moved. Going back always feels like peeking into a memory of a totally different life, learning to live and love together.

  31. Kate says...

    I moved from Denver to San Francisco just over a year ago, mostly for a new adventure, but also because my family relationships had started to be strained to the point where I felt my emotional well being was at risk. Family gatherings during the holidays ended in shouting matches and tears shed. I picked San Francisco because my brother ended up there after leaving Denver many years prior. My decision to move was rewarded with family gatherings filled with love, joy, and new experiences in California with my brother’s family.
    Now my brother’s life is in transition and during a recent trip back to Colorado, he called and talked about how wonderful it was there: how beautiful our dad’s farm looked in springtime with the lilacs blooming and green grass growing. He reported back that not only had Easter been a positive experience, but that it left him wondering if it was time for him to consider moving back. It funny how the seasons of our lives make us long for and remember our homes and can also drive us away.
    There are many things I miss about my hometown, but for now I’m happy to have some distance.

    • Aimee says...

      > It funny how the seasons of our lives make us long for and remember our homes and can also drive us away.

      I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. You describe it perfectly!

  32. Jenny says...

    I moved from the south (Nashville, before it was cool) to the PNW (Seattle, before it was cool) 7 years ago. I miss thunderstorms, night swimming in the summer (or even summer nights above 50 degrees!), public pools, long drives on country roads, being able to see the stars (too much light pollution and clouds in Seattle), the sound of bugs in the summer (basically I just miss summers!), air conditioning (we don’t have it in the PNW), genuine kindness from strangers (no one smiles!). I went home last year after not having been back for 4 years or so. I felt completely out of place the whole time. I don’t think you can go home. You change, and it changes. It doesn’t mean that it’s not still there, but it will never be the same.

  33. Tess says...

    I moved from a small town in Central Illinois to New Orleans 3 years ago…talk about change! I miss driving down country roads with the music up loud, not having to watch my own back all the time, giant windmills turning in the corn fields, the coffeehouse I worked at in high school, the giant tree in our old backyard, pulling into our driveway & seeing my dad working in the garden and my mom brushing the dog. Oh and an absolute yes to “not having to use Google Maps!” Oh the joys of being able to drive anywhere on autopilot.

  34. Beautiful quote!

    And I grew up swimming in a stock tank in Pennsylvania :)

  35. Kaitlyn says...

    Growing up in a military family, I was born into a very nomadic life. I’ve never lived in one city for longer than three years at a time, so home for me has never been a physical place, instead it was my mom, my dad and my sister.

    In my last two years of High School my family settled in Arizona to live near the rest of my family, but the lifestyle in Arizona made my very unhappy. I now live in a small flat in a big city in the North of England and its a physical place I truly feel is home.

    I often feel a lot of guilt for not missing ‘home’ more, and for being so happy, so far away from my family. I also often wonder if that is something other expats feel. But the things I do miss the most are: waking up early to join my mom drinking coffee on the sofa and the feeling of the sun seeping through a hot car.

    • Jessica says...

      Whoa, I could have written almost this exact thing myself – military upbringing, feeling at home in England, guilt over being happy so far away from my family. Except it was my dad drinking coffee in the early morning :) It’s reassuring to know there are other expats out there who feel like I do!

    • Marie T. says...

      Another expat here, and I feel the same way (Except I’m in Germany). My mom wants me to go back so bad. How do I tell her that I found a life that makes me so happy without her and the rest of my family?

  36. I’m from St Louis ,MO. I miss Ted Drew’s the arch.the zoo grants farm, snow, and elephant rock state Park as well as the other parks.

  37. Suzie says...

    Wait, so you’re saying that the lines at the DMV in NYC are NOT long?? I live in a big Northeast city and the last DMV line I was in was pretty long!

  38. Kara C says...

    Provel!! I miss STL style pizza so much. (I’m a St. Louis native living in the suburbs of DC.) I would have to add gooey butter cake and fried ravioli to my list, too.

    • formerly SassyinDC says...

      America’s Test Kitchen has an a good recipe for STL style pizza. The great thing about STL pizza is it’s not a yeasted crust, which means that even I am willing to take a shot at making it when my husband is usually the dedicated pizza maker in our home (he makes many different styles/crusts).

      DC Burb/Clifton, VA

    • Sadie says...

      Haha, my husband is a St. Louisian, and we now live in England. He is literally in the act of baking a gooey butter cake right now, but there is no Provel in the UK, that’s for sure!

  39. Annie says...

    I enjoyed this — thank you! I have been gone from my hometown for twenty years and have always missed it — sometimes wistfully, sometimes not. I dream of returning one day, maybe to retire, but I wonder if it will live up to the dreams I’ve had of returning these many years.

  40. I am an immigrant and really relate to this. I was 18 when I came to States (for college) in 1999. That’s 18 years in August. Next year, I will have spent more of my life in the States than in my native Bulgaria. I used to feel really torn by the back and forth… it was so confusing. I couldn’t feel American enough here and I would feel weirdly different back home. But the last time I was there, two years ago… I noticed a switch. I could understand what people were saying but I couldn’t figure out why they were talking about whatever it was that they were talking about. I could tell when somebody was making a joke, but I didn’t understand why it was funny. It’s not like I didn’t find the joke funny… I just could not figure out how that was something one would joke about. Eventually it dawned on me…. I was American.

    • Alexandra says...

      I love this – I am an immigrant as well and also moved to the U.S. in August 1999, albeit 10 years older than you were. I have started to feel American as well, when I see (and listen to) German tourists or visitors at work especially. They tend to say things and complain about things that an American would not. And I think: really? Was I ever like that, complaining about all kinds of stuff that’s different here? Perhaps I just got used to crappy California windows, holes in the roads and other.

  41. Lana says...

    Speaking of provel, have you ever seen Jon Hamm on Jimmy Kimmel when hes eating IMO’s? It will make you miss home so much.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      OMG, googling now. You rule, Lana!

  42. Katie says...

    I moved to Portland, OR from my tiny hometown in the Sierra foothills of NorCal twenty years ago. I’ve mostly lived here since, with a few years abroad in Germany & China. I didn’t miss my hometown (pop. 800, when I left) more than when I lived in Shanghai, with 24 million other people. Things I hadn’t thought about in years flooded my mind as I tried to catch taxis in the rain, or got lost in a maze of streets with names I couldn’t read: the smell of wild mint by the creek near our old bus stop; how exciting it was when we got a market with hot jo-jos in the deli; vast stretches of open prairie; the flooded rice fields full of Pacific flyway birds; the smell of the dusty Earth in late summer; Pizza Round-Up and Julie’s Burger Barn; how Mrs. Amatto knew what I liked at the video store & would weigh-in as I wandered around forever, looking at title after title. When I moved back, rather than flying into Portland, I opted to fly into SFO & drive up so I could just…smell my hometown. My two childhood girlfriends picked me up. It was the most bittersweet trip. Eventually, we turned down my old dirt road & I wept as we neared my old house. It was changed by it’s new family (I kept thinking: my Dad built that house!) and I could hardly look through the cracks in my hands. It smelled INCREDIBLE. Cattle, grass, wood, gravel, mint. I practically shouted, “Okay, okay! Turn around. Enough!” and we went to Pizza Round-Up, where I cried (in Pizza freaking Round-Up!) and told them about China and how much I still, after all the years away, carried our hometown in my heart. Seven years later, I still feel the same. Probably always will. I’m not sure if that stuff ever leaves you.

    • Kara says...

      Oh, this made me cry. What a lovely writer you are

    • Lauren E. says...

      Wow, this is really beautiful.

  43. I just spent the weekend at home (in Michigan) for the first time in over a year. I miss being so close to Lake Michigan (I live in Tennessee now, a land-locked state). I miss walking from my grandma’s house to the Dairy Queen. I miss being 5-minutes’ drive from every family member on my dad’s side. And I miss Michigan summers. But I don’t miss having to hide from high school classmates in the Meijer, haha.

    • Kristiana says...

      YES to hiding from high school classmates in Meijer – laughing so hard right now!! I’m from West Michigan and can TOTALLY relate!

  44. Chika says...

    I love this list! But please, please tell me that your parents or someone (anyone!) videotaped your “Like A Virgin” performance…priceless!! ;)

  45. Lana says...

    Ugh!!! Brown recluse!!!! My husband was applying for jobs all over the country and if he had an interview somewhere my first question was always “Are there br’s there??” (Yes, we call them br’s!) Creepy little bastards.

    • Stella Blackmon says...


  46. Mollie says...

    I feel I have the opposite. I moved a lot when I was a kid (6 school by 5th grade), so there’s a scattering of memories from places I’ve lived as a child. I feel I only first came home when I was 18 and moved to San Francisco, I’ve been here (except for a brief stint in Portland while my boyfriend, now husband, finished school) for 14 years. The current apartment I live in now is the longest I’ve ever lived somewhere. I don’t think we’ll ever leave, and if we do leave SF, we’ll never leave the Bay Area — it’s like I found home, why ever leave?

  47. cooper says...

    My parents are getting ready to move away from my childhood South Dakota small town, and it’s bittersweet knowing I won’t have a reason to visit there once they’ve left.

    The thing I’ll miss is the same thing that used to drive me crazy when I lived there: having nothing to do. There are times (late evenings, Sundays) when there’s literally not a business open – no restaurants, no gas station, nothing! On one of my husband’s first visits, he asked if there was some place we could go to get something to eat, and I said, actually no, there really isn’t! It’s weirdly relaxing to know that you’re stuck at home just hanging out. Kind of like the opposite of FOMO :)

    • Katie says...

      Cooper – I miss this too! I grew up in rural NorCal and have such strong memories of seemingly endless weekends as a kid with…nothing to do. THE BEST!

  48. Jill M. T. says...

    I moved from my home town of Salt Lake to Germany two years ago. Most of all, I miss my family dinners every other Sunday at my parents. I miss seeing my nieces and nephews running around. Besides my family and friends, I miss Mexican food, and smoke-free outdoor areas.

    ….but I love it here, and the thought of leaving fills me with dread. I am my most authentic self here.

    • Aimee says...

      “I am my most authentic self here.”

      What a lovely reason to stay:) and wonderful you realize it now, while you’re still there.

  49. Rachel says...

    What a timely article. I returned to Brooklyn today after a three week visit to my hometown of Austin to introduce my new daughter to my family.

    Things I miss:
    1. Swimming almost daily in natural springs
    2. Topo Chico
    3. Running with my dad, walks with my mom

    Things I don’t miss:
    1. Driving- so enjoyable to walk everywhere
    2. Austin traffic
    3. The heavy food (a surprise to me!)

    Thank you for this article, as I navigate new parenthood and adjust what “home” means these days…

    • Topo! You can’t get it north of the red river…

  50. liz says...

    Very short list of what I miss having left the NY area – I miss the smell of Long Island Sound, the sound of fog horns, real diners, tall thin black men dressed in tiaras and tutus ringing you up in the local Korean deli, running as fast as you can so you don’t miss the last train out of Grand Central station, being close to world class museums, the quiet and emptiness of NYC on an August Sunday morning, real Kaiser rolls, everyone knowing they are in the best city of the world.
    Very short list of what I don’t miss – everyone crammed onto the subway on the hottest day of the year and someone smells weird and someone is ranting and someone is grabbing some part of you, everything costs 500% more than it would anywhere else, within 15 minutes walking down a NYC street you will see a dead wig in the road, a woman vomiting mid stride (not even stopping) a guy smoking weed, a bike courier and a cabbie fighting and your ex roommate who you have discovered never paid the sublet and which is why you had to move out yourself in the middle of the night.

    • ES says...

      This is a great list.

  51. Christina says...

    This post really struck me as today I’ve been stuck in a “New York is so overwhelming to live in, I just wanna move” kind of mood. I moved here 8 months ago from Chicago, where I lived for 9 years, though I’m originally from Appleton, Wisconsin. Sometimes I miss the simplicity of small town life, but with all my city living and living abroad (also lived in Madrid for a year), I’ve changed so much that going back to Wisconsin isn’t a very appealing option. “You can never go home again” is true… Lately I’ve been dreaming of escaping to a small New England town, which combines the charm of small town life + East coast culture (in my mind, at least!) One can dream…

    • Christine says...

      Love your thoughts – I recently left NYC after 5 years to be with my family in Dallas… Unsure of where the next adventure will lead me but I do miss the East Coast and often dream of having a shoreline cottage :) but then I know I’ll miss big city living!! Oh the mind plays so many games. I’ve had many friends move from NYC to Chicago and find the ability to connect/create community is much easier – curious, how are you liking NYC? Do you miss Chicago?

  52. Lisa says...

    I moved away from my home country (South Africa) when I was in my late teens and it was SO hard I had to just try and not think about it too much.
    One of the weird things I missed was when they called the register, you didn’t have any Afrikaans, Xhosa or Zulu names. There was barely any M (which is what Zulu surnames commonly start with) or V surnames(which lots of Afrikaans names start with), which was really sad.

    When I go back now I fall in love with my home country all over again. I love going back even though I don’t really belong there or the UK (where I moved to)

  53. Whitney says...

    I would love to move to NYC, but I have no reason to and nothing to move there for…if that makes sense?

    That being said, I live 20m from my hometown and wonder if there isn’t something powerful about learning to appreciate the familiar?

    • Lis says...

      I don’t think you need a job of a boyfriend to move, I think wanting to live somewhere new is reason enough alone. I’ve never lived in NYC but I’ve lived in various cities in a few regions of the US (DC, Chicago, Seattle) and moving around has been one of my favorite experiences of life. It changes you and helps you discover what’s important to you :)

  54. Alexandra says...

    Great post, thank you. I have moved away from my hometown and home country (Germany), almost 20 years ago, to the SF Bay Area. Initially I was glad to be out of there for a variety of reasons, and in the mean time, the Bay Area has become my home, and the place I raise my kids. When I visit Germany, I “come home” to the Bay Area. I miss my parents, I miss the freedom that I had as a kid, which my kids don’t know. I miss discovering castle ruins during summer hikes, beer gardens, going everywhere by bike, Italian gelato on each corner, German bakeries and old houses.

    • Jill M. T. says...

      As a recent transplant to Germany, I am now weighing the benefits of raising children here. My family is in the states, but I want my children to have the childhood you just described.

  55. Brittany says...

    So fun! I’m from Lake of the Ozarks, so we’re nearly neighbors :) Don’t forget Andy’s Frozen Custard!

  56. This was the perfect post for me. I recently moved to Los Angeles from West Michigan, and while I miss it a ton I’m starting to miss it less. I was worried I was the only one or completely heartless, but knowing it’s normal and beautiful is the best thing that I could have read this week. Thank you!

  57. I moved away from home after college to Los Angeles – literally as far as I could go. It was a hard struggle after not even dipping a toe into the adult world, to going from living with my boyfriend and having no family nearby. 7 years later, I am back from living in California to residing in my hometown of Montclair, NJ. It’s a strange feeling, actually. I came back, with so many years of being unsure who I was while out west, to feeling like I now know exactly who I am. Going away was so important to finding my identity and independence away from my large family, but coming back has solidified it. I know I’ll probably move far away again (maybe to Europe), but being home after growing so much someplace else has been wonderful.

  58. Liz says...

    I almost snorted coffee I was drinking out of my nose reading #9 on what you miss! Hell yes to provel and potato casseroles with corn flakes. I’m from Texas, went to college in Kansas and was introduced to that magic there and my former college-then-again-Chicago roommate who is from the midwest will still make me a GIANT pan of that for my birthdays because she knows I love it so much. Stella, I love all of your posts- your kind spirit and warm personality always shine through your words!

  59. jaclyn says...

    I have lived all over, but I consider Northern Michigan my home. I miss- SO.MANY. TREEEEES. And no people. My town(ship) has 322 humans that live in it. My family gets together every day and we do everything together. And we talk about my mom and dad that aren’t here anymore. Lake Michigan is still one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. The only gourmet shop is the deli and all the fixings are homemade! The smell of ink in my uncle’s old school print shop. Collecting rocks (esp petosky stones!) is a big deal (and cute and free). And I am a TOTAL babe up there. : )

    • Lauren says...

      I grew up in Traverse City, MI and miss being able to go on the boat every weekend with friends and family in the summer and going fishing in the fall. The small Ice cream places were the best! I do not miss the snow for 6 months out the of year. However I do love all of the hiking in Oregon.

    • jaclyn says...

      I am from Honor! It’s just outside of Traverse! That area is amazing because during nice weather there are so many community events. I love it there. I go back every year. If I could, I would move back. <3

  60. Number 15 on what you miss is the sweetest! And I love that Maya Angelou quote. It sounds like you have an idyllic hometown Stella!

  61. Erin says...

    I tried. I went to undergrad in VT, moved to PA and DE for a while. But, ultimately, I ended up settling right back home. I went on to marry (my 2nd husband) a guy from my hometown and that bond made life so much sweeter. We now live about 1/4 mile from the town we both grew up in and I am so, so happy here. :)

  62. Seeing this post today feels like kizmet. I moved to Chicago two years ago, but I’m originally from a small town in the Northwest corner of Connecticut– Litchfield, CT. I adore my hometown, and it’s such a strong part of my personality. I miss living between small farms and the bounty of fresh produce, maple syrup, honey, cheese, cider and ethically raised meat constantly available. I miss the little lakes scattered all over, the rolling hills, and winding roads. I miss bonfires in the backyard, early dinners with my parents, and reading the New York Times every Sunday morning. I miss the lack of chain stores and restaurants. Most of all I miss the utter freedom of living surrounded by nature. Half the land area of my hometown is conserved in some way. Being able to walk out of my house and go through forests and wetlands and know I won’t have to see a soul unless I want to is so freeing.

    But I’m beginning to feel like a Chicagoan. I went home for Easter and found myself *gasp* missing Chicago. This morning I was walking to work admiring this lush Spring day and how gorgeous the city looks, and I felt like there was nowhere else I’d rather be. I feel so guilty!

    • Kat says...

      I’m a transplant who has made the opposite journey–going from a large, urban metropolis (Tampa, FL) to the rolling hills of Litchfield County, CT. My husband and I manage a farm tucked behind Lake Waramaug in Kent, CT. I miss the diversity of living in a bigger city–the people, the food, the activities, etc. But I have to admit, the Northwest Corner is enchantingly beautiful, especially this time of year.

  63. One the commenters already said it – but there is a Walnut Street in Queens!
    Not counting going away to college, I have lived in Queens my entire life. I always fantasized about living somewhere else for a while, but now being married (to another Native Queensite), with a child, owning our home, our careers firmly rooted here, it’s almost definitely not happening. I have a very love/hate relationship with NYC, but it’s mostly love, especially for my native borough. When we leave in the morning, we say hello to about 10 people (at least), we know the local baker, cafe owner, bartenders, etc by name, it sometimes feels like living in a small town – but in the middle of a huge city! – with the addition of incredible diversity (in people AND delicious food). Not sure if this is the place, but I recently came to the realization of why I am so attached to my borough and such a cheerleader for it. Being a person of color, I often get asked “No, where are you REALLY from?” Although I’m born and raised here, I never get to just be American, because of the color of my skin. I am Hispanic, Latina, Colombian-American. And as much as I’m proud of my heritage, when I am in Colombia, I feel so American. So in that way, I feel most culturally connected to Queens. My home, bursting with character, languages, perfect for our blended, Jewtino family. (sorry, I think that’s probably my longest post ever!)

  64. Lis says...

    What a sweet post! It’s fun to look back. I grew up in a small town in the Midwest on Lake Michigan. It’s an adorable place with a idyllic small-town-America feel. Summers there are all about cabins on the lake, canoe trips down the river, and campfires. I miss that “lazy summer day” feeling and I deeply miss Lake Michigan. It’s weird for a body of water to be so important to me. But now I’m 110% a city girl and would go nuts living in a small town (and I started going nuts in high school – I basically bolted out of there for college without looking back). I also don’t miss the lack of diversity, the small-mindedness of small town life, and the lack of good ethnic food, lol.

    • Katie says...

      Lis – This all rings so true for me, too. Bolted out & have never missed the lack of privacy that goes along with small-towns!

  65. Rachel says...

    Oh, I feel you.
    I grew up in New Hampshire, but my husband I have been living in New Mexico for the past seven years. The first couple years I missed new England so much. I was certain that we would eventually move back. But as the years have passed and we have built a community, and our careers here, I have realized that we will probably never leave New Mexico. We recently decided to buy a house, which was the nail in the coffin of my dream to move back.

    The thing is, as each year passes, I miss New England less and less. I have grown used to the climate and the culture of New Mexico. I think that if I did move back to New Hampshire, there would be certain things that I would have trouble readjusting to.

    Now, the only thing I really miss about New Hampshire is that my parents are there. I wish I was closer to them. Every once in a while I do feel that achy sense of nostalgia and loss for the idyllic place I grew up. I just learned a new term- saudade, which perfectly describes how I feel about the place. But I also think its nice tp have a place that you hold in your mind as being perfect and unchanging. Actually living there would only ruin your perception of it.

    • Hannah says...

      100 percent agree, Rachel (and Stella!) You both said it so beautifully. My hometown for half of my childhood, Baltimore, is like NH and MO are for you — perhaps not perfect, but a warm, unchanged place remembered through the lens of my childhood memories. To this day, visiting it feels special; almost like I’m seeing an old friend.

  66. Michelle says...

    I grew up on a small town on the southern Oregon coast. Now that I live in the big city, Seattle, though I am close to the water – I miss the ocean. I miss the sound of the ocean waves as you go to sleep, timing out your trips to the beach around tide tables and sunsets.

  67. Emily says...

    I’m from Springfield too! I moved to San Francisco about 7 years ago and while there are some things I miss about MO, I feel like California is home now. Enjoy NYC!

  68. Julie says...

    I’m preparing to move out of my home state – from the town I’ve called home since I graduated from college 8 years ago – this Friday. I’ve never lived out of state or more than an hour from my parents and my heart is breaking over leaving my friends and family and the life I’ve built here (and my porch!) to start a new one. I am excited for the next chapter and phase of my life – new city! getting married! – but my heart breaks over closing this current chapter. It’s been the best. Also, change is scary. I’ll be repeating that Maya Angelou quote to myself over and over again. <3

    • Laura says...

      I’ve found it’s both a relief and saddening that after a while, you don’t miss your hometown as much. Though, I guess the same goes for people that leave your life.

    • It’s so true what Laura said: it’s a relief and saddening at the same time. I have a big family so moving across the country was really hard for the first year or so. I think my identity relied heavily on who I was in response to everyone else. When I left I had to really discover myself which is hard but also freeing. Now that I’ve moved back home, after so many years away, I feel like I am better able to deal with my family. Maybe because I spent that time working on myself, creating boundaries, and figuring out what was important to me, rather than my family as a whole. It will be hard at first, but you will really benefit from learning about yourself outside the shadow of your family.

  69. I moved away from my hometown 15 years ago. I am always happy to be the girl that got outta there… but I miss it. There is so much nostalgia when I go home, adventures that I want to take with my family, and rivers and canyons to explore. But Arizona is home now, and we have put our roots into the desert sand. This year I have made peace with the fact that Idaho will not be home to my children. But, how cool is it that any adventures we take here are just as new to me as they are to my boys?!

  70. Gen says...

    Fellow Missourian! Great post. I don’t miss Provel, but the thought of it makes me smile, and on my last trip back to the Lou, I did achieve my personal trifecta of eating toasted ravioli, Ted Drewes, and Gus’s pretzels, which was glorious.

    I miss my high school, and in some cases grade school, girl friends. Now we all have kids and they don’t know each other. On my annual trips home, it’s a true joy to head out for a drink with my ladies and just let it all hang out because we’ve known each other since way back when. I missed out on some of them for a couple decades and reconnected thanks to a high school reunion. It’s been delightful to find that those goofy teenagers have turned into such wise women.

    On the other hand, I adore my life and friends in the Northwest and am very happy to have been out here for 15+ years. ;) It’s a win-win. As the Girl Scout song said, “Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold.”

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Gen, your comment is so wonderful. Couldn’t agree more to all of it. Thanks for writing.

      Craving toasted ravioli so much now. The best.

  71. Laura says...

    What a lovely post, Stella! Have you ever read through the Bella Grace magazine? I browse through it when I go to Barnes & Noble and this post reminded me of it because it’s so similar to the type of content that magazine has.

    I love visiting my hometown and still feel at home in my parents’ house, but not in the town itself. I moved to LA and like other commenters, this new city still doesn’t feel like “home.”

  72. Auste says...

    My dad would take off his shoe and play using the sole of the shoe as a ping pong paddle for the same reason. So funny. We moved around a bit growing up, so I don’t have the same nostalgia for my “hometown”, but no matter what city we were living in certain memories of “home” will always conjure up a sentimental longing for the good old days of childhood.

    • Jenny says...

      This is so sweet! It makes me miss my dad! Thanks for sharing.

  73. annemarie says...

    I grew up in a remote city in northern BC, then moved to Winnipeg for university and got stuck here. I miss so many things about my hometown, but I also know I can’t live there – a lot of things about it are toxic for me. But even after 12 years here, I can’t quite come around to calling it home. It’s such a mixed feeling.

  74. K says...

    I too, am from Spfd. Mo originally, and moved to a large city many years ago. Reading this post brought a tear to my eye. I miss really warm Spring nights, Moms who wear sandals all year long, and cruising Battlefield Road on Friday nights with the entire town.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      AHhhh, YES to cruising Battlefield! Aw.


    • Sadie says...

      I’m dying laughing. I grew up near Springfield and my mom is definitely a year-round sandals mom!

    • Stella Blackmon says...


  75. Kiks says...

    There is a Cherry Street in Lower Manhattan and a Walnut Street in Forest Hill, Queens fyi :)!

    This summer will be 14 years for me in NYC, and i totally get the sentiment. I was coming home in a taxi after the holidays somewhere around year 5, when I finally had that “Ahh, I’m home – I’m so happy to be home” feeling. It can sometimes take a while for those funny little lovable quirks of a place to reveal themselves to you. I now have some (very!) chatty neighbors, enjoy stoops instead of porch swings, and can overhear my flautist neighbor practice (as well as the mostly adorable squawks of someones parrot!).

  76. I’m a New Yorker who now lives in LA. For the most part, it’s great, though I do get homesick once in a while. I was driving one day about 6 months after we moved here when Neil Diamond’s “I Am, I Said” came on the radio,(that’s right, I was listening to the light FM channel):
    “Well, I’m New York City born and raised
    But nowadays, I’m lost between two shores
    L.A.’s fine, but it ain’t home —
    New York’s home but it ain’t mine no more.”
    Cue to me weeping like an idiot.
    What I miss:
    *the energy. There is no place else like it
    *autumn/spring. Those glorious few weeks of both seasons that make you feel anticipatory excitement
    *carbs. “New York style” stuff out here doesn’t compete. At all. No, I’m not going to take a bite, I just know.
    *Mets game
    *My crew. The family and friends I spent 35 years knowing and loving.

    What I don’t:
    *Weather. I may never dig my car out of the snow again and I’m a-okay with that.
    *the cost. LA ain’t cheap, but it’s less expensive than NYC
    *the crowding. Who are all these people? No, I will not move away from the coveted subway car spot that allows me to lean against the doors. I don’t want to touch that pole, either.

    • em says...

      my husband and i are currently deciding between moving back to NY area or moving to LA – so that song strikes me too. it’s an impossible choice! thanks for sharing <3

    • Loesie says...

      Never heard of this song before. Thank you for writing about it :)

  77. Kiley says...

    I moved to Chicago from Columbus Ohio over five years ago and I still miss it. My fiancé and I know we don’t want to stay in Chicago forever and we’ve discussed moving back to one of our respective hometowns, but when I think about it I immediately start thinking of things I would miss about Chicago. There’s no winning!

  78. Donna says...

    I moved from Melbourne, Australia to Atlanta, GA. .23 years ago. In Feb we went home for visit and was struck by how much I loved everything about my old neighborhood and how I totally took all the good for granted. I was struggling to explain how I felt and then last week I came across this quote and I thought it perfectly captured how I felt:

    “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” – Terry Pratchett

    Kudos, to you for not taking 23 years to appreciate your hometown.

  79. Brittany says...

    I moved from small town Kansas to Istanbul two years ago and this article totally resonates with me. I wouldn’t change a thing, but there will always be stuff that I miss from home…especially the night sky (no population = no light pollution!) and good BBQ.

    • Leah says...

      Hi from another reader in Istanbul!

  80. ES says...

    I still remember the thoughts/emotions I had as I was crossing the Manhattan Bridge. I felt SO happy to be moving away from my medium-sized suburban town. However, I quickly realized how difficult and lonely New York can get. It definitely isn’t as glamorous as I made it out to be. While my hometown is only a bridge away, it feels so different. It’s quiet, more spacious, and definitely cleaner. When I moved back home, I appreciated my town so much. I guess that happens when you move away! But then again, there are cons as well. I don’t like the fact that I see familiar faces wherever I go and I can’t exactly “avoid” those I don’t want to see.

  81. Sarah says...

    This brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes I miss my home on the Rocky Mountain Front in Montana, but it’s my family who I miss terribly after living in Queens for the past 9 years. Now that I have my own children I can’t imagine them moving so far away from me one day.

    • Katie says...

      Me, too. Crying at my desk. These comments are SO wonderful. I wonder if we’re all feeling a little homesick these days because the world seems so unmoored?

  82. Eliza says...

    I grew up in Southern California, went to college in Utah (where my husband is from), and have spent the last 10 years living in DC and Northern Virginia. We debate all the time whether to move closer to home. We visit our families quite frequently–a few times a year–and they visit us. It’s always hard to say goodbye.

    It’s a weird feeling though–NoVA is home too. Almost more than California or Utah. Our four children were born here, and this is home to them. When we decided to move to the east coast, I was 23. I didn’t think about the future at all. I figured we would be back. I didn’t think about how we would put roots down a tiny bit at a time. I think no matter where we live we will miss the other places we have lived. It’s really not such a curse, I guess. To feel the love of family and friends whom we’ve left in various parts of the country (or the world). It hurts a little, but I guess in a good way. Ouch! xo

    • Eliza says...

      Things I miss about southern CA – leaving the windows open all year long; not owning (or needing to own) a coat; In-N-Out; tacos; avocados; fresh oranges and lemons; the San Gabriel mountains; the beach!!

      Things I don’t miss – not being able to take long showers or water the lawn bc droughts; smog (although it’s gotten better since I was a kid!); having to wear lotion every day; and BILLBOARDS! Such eyesores (I love that the DC area has no billboards anywhere)

    • Katie says...

      Yes to all those things you miss about California! No coats! I moved to Oregon and didn’t have a rain coat ;)! Also, swimming as an outdoor sport. Always.

  83. Lucy S says...

    I miss different things from each place I’ve lived in. From my home town, a truly great Chinese takeout, friends who stayed, being able to get on a train and be in London inside half an hour. But that last thing means the town is like Wisteria Lane, full of stressed out people keeping up appearances. I feel sad but I really dislike it when I go back.

    Then theres the port city I went to university and did my PhD in. I miss the secret spots away from the grit, the diversity, the bars where I knew all the staff, my old sports team, the walkability. Don’t miss the traffic lights (most in any city in Europe), the seagulls or the miles of industrial dock land.

    Now I live in a remote rural area. I couldn’t live anywhere else- I love our home and the landscape it sits in. It’s become part of me. I love raising my children here and seeing it become their place.

  84. Ren says...

    I moved from small town Ontario to Calgary about 7 years ago, after graduating from university. I met my husband here and we are happily rooted here, I love the city and being close to the mountains, but every so often I miss Ontario’s hot summer nights, humidity, lush(er) vegetation, warm rain, maple trees in the fall. Otherwise, the bulk of happiness in my life has been out west!

  85. yael steren says...

    I moved away when I went to college and have lived in NYC since graduating. But I’m only 30 minutes away so I go home to visit quite often!! It’s nice to have a backyard and be able to BBQ in the summer!! I’m lucky to have the best of both worlds!! xx yael

  86. Candace says...

    That Maya Angelou quote (and your post) just resonated so much with me. I grew up in Bermuda, but haven’t lived there full-time since I went away to school when I was 16. The thing I missed the most when I first left was the ocean – I hadn’t realized how much of my daily life was touched by the ever-changing moods and colours of the sea. I’ve now lived in the Bay Area for about 10 years, but still don’t feel settled. It’s like I have a quiet, deep pull to end up closer to home / at home and have to keep thinking this life is temporary. But when I visit home these days, I feel like *such* an outsider. I’m not sure I could re-adjust to island life after being spoiled by all the amazing things about California/Bay Area living, but oh man would I love to have the ocean back in my life.

  87. Sarah says...

    I lived in Brooklyn for four years in my 20’s and left to move back to my native west coast.
    Things I miss about NYC:
    The romance of the city. I felt like I was in a movie!
    The diversity of choice. I felt like I never met up with friends at the same restaurant or bar twice.
    The people. NYCers are the best.
    The connection to the global community. I don’t feel that as much on the west coast.
    Taking long walks through neighborhoods
    Discovering new amazing restaurants/bars/coffee
    Being at the epicenter of new art/music/culture
    The hustle

    Things I don’t miss:
    Every little thing taking so much effort. Doing laundry, getting groceries, traveling across town. Everything is harder.
    The traffic/noise/pollution. Now I have trees everywhere!
    Being 3000 miles from my family when emergency struck
    Being 3000 miles from my family for Sunday dinner
    That hustle

    I loved that I got to live in the City for a time, it was the best, I wouldn’t take it back for anything. For me, moving back to my hometown wasn’t the right thing. But there are other cities and towns nearby, and I’m lucky I have a wonderful community that welcomed me back with open arms. I doubt I’ll ever “fit in” entirely anywhere, but that’s ok, I think I embrace it that way!

    • Christine says...

      Love your NYC list — missing all of the same things (just left after 5 years) and 100% with you on how the little things were so darn hard! When people ask why I left, I throw in there this image… handling two grocery bags in the rain with a broken umbrella and then trying to get your keys to open the front door …. In the moment I had had enough but now I kind of miss the mess :)

  88. What a thoughtful and lovely post! I grew up on a farm in Eastern Oregon and now live in Atlanta. A few memories of childhood are family drives in our pick up truck, my grandmother’s garden and banana cookies, and root beer floats on our back deck. Such sweet memories! While I love living in a city I miss the slow pace of rural living.

  89. I moved from Mexico to Philly for College and it was an amazing experience, it was so weird though, because i didn’t really miss home that much until I decided to move back after I graduated. Then I realized I missed my hometown as it was before I left once I was back and it and I had both changed too much.

  90. This is such an interesting concept to me because I don’t have a hometown! I moved every two years growing up, and so I don’t have lifelong friends, or a childhood home, or that sense of nostalgia for a place. It’s such a foreign feeling to me, but it’s something I’m trying hard to embrace for my kids. I don’t want them to feel unmoored like I do. Sometimes I get this urge to go “home” only to realize that place doesn’t exist. I feel homesick for the feeling of homesickness! It’s a strange emotion.

  91. Kelley says...

    I moved away from home (Colorado) 11 years ago to Virginia for a boy; whom I eventually married! I still think about home every day.

    Things I miss:
    The mountains
    300 days of sunshine a year
    Family gatherings on a random summer day
    My favorite bagel shop
    My hair stylist!
    Not needing Google Maps to get around town
    Live music downtown on Thursdays nights

    I read the local news everyday to keep connected and give myself a sense of what’s happening back home. I also look at a houses for sale and daydream about moving back.

  92. Em says...

    I think it’s so important to move around and experience new places before settling down. That’s the phase I’m in right now— living here, living there, and testing out towns/cities to see what I like. In the meantime, though, I definitely miss my childhood home, the farm fields, the feeling of comfort that comes with having a place to “hang your hat,” and of course a fully stocked fridge. :)

  93. Annie says...

    I grew up in AZ
    Things I miss:
    Having so much family around.
    When you walk outside in the summer and the skin across your whole body tightens from that initial oven-like blast of heat.
    Smelling like chlorine from May through September.
    Monsoon season and the musty, intoxicating smell of rain on the desert.
    Bringing a sweater to church because they always overcompensate the hot temps with A/C.
    Really amazing Mexican food on every corner.
    The most amazing sunsets.

    Things I don’t miss:
    Perpetual pit stains.
    Getting first degree burns from the metal part of the seatbelt and not being able to touch the steering wheel in the summer.
    Awkward run ins with people I half remember from high school.
    Parched, prickly, yellow grass at the park.
    118 degrees Fahrenheit.
    The lack of seasons.

    I love Arizona and it was a wonderful place to grow up, but I hope I never live there again!

  94. Becca says...

    I live in basically the same are as where I grew up (suburban DC) so I don’t miss much – I didn’t want to leave it! If I had to pick what I would miss, I think I would just name all the things I am excited for my kids to experience: fireflies; cherry blossoms; suburban swim clubs (bright blue water, bright green grass, surrounded by big trees); warm autumns; the Shenandoah Valley; the beauty of DC; the amazing multi-culturalness of our area; going to Nats games; vacations in OBX; being able to get legit bbq :-)

    • Eliza says...

      I’m a southern CA native raising my kids in suburban DC and I love all those things you listed–my kids love them too. It is a great place to live! (Suburban swim clubs though: so $$$$! In California we used to pay 50 cents to get into the city pool and that worked just fine! Hahaha)

  95. Carly Travis says...

    I recently moved 40 minutes south of my small suburb outside Chicago to go to college in the city.
    Thing I miss:
    Getting overly excited about the grocery store being renovated
    Thing I don’t miss:
    Going to the grocery store becomes the only activity for the day

  96. Brooke says...

    I moved away from Springfield, Mo to Nashville a few years ago- I actually just visited a couple of weeks ago for the first time since I left! I lived on Cherry St. and I had to take a drive by my old house and hit up a few garage sales while I was there. That might be what I miss most! When I got back to Nashville I was talking about stock tank swimming pools and my coworkers thought I was crazy so I’m glad someone else misses those too haha.

  97. Maelle says...

    I moved from a tiny coastal town in the south of France to Paris, and i miss soooo many things! the number one being: the sea (which i was lucky enough to see from my bedroom window). I miss the sunshine, people’s southern accent, the bright colours and all the mediterranean plants and trees. I miss my little sister, who is 14 years old and growing so much at the moment. I miss my dad telling me the same story two nights in a row because he forgot he did, or him attempting to explain Einstein’s string theory over dinner. What i don’t miss: the lack of public transports. Paris wins for that! (and so many other things, obviously ;)

  98. Abbey says...

    Oh my goodness, I’m from just outside Springfield! I’m from Republic! What a small world. I’m in CO now, but I’m planning two trips home this summer!

  99. Lindsey says...

    Provel cheese made me laugh. My husband is from St. Louis and raves about provel cheese (and Imo’s Pizza!)

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Ha! That made me laugh, Lindsey! It’s equally disgusting and delicious :))))

  100. Lauren says...

    While not my hometown, my parents have a lake house in the small northern Michigan town my great grandfather grew up in. We’ve spent summers on the beach and winters snowshoeing through the icy tundra, soaking up the slow pace our city living rarely allows. My parents recently broke the news that they’re selling the lake house and I was entirely heartbroken as it feels as though my ties to this teeny town will soon be tethered. This summer will be dedicated to memorizing every inch of that beautiful Michigan coastal town, from chilly dips in the frigid waters of Lake Michigan to the amazing fresh baked bread (and terrible coffee) at the local diner.

  101. Jennie says...

    It’s not your home you are missing, it is your youth.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Ha, that too :)

    • Em says...

      Jennie, yes to this! It makes me think of the ‘Garden State’ movie quote that’s something like “I’m homesick for a place that doesn’t exist anymore.”

      Yes, you can miss your old town and the unique things from your home state, but I think so many memories people are sharing are home sickness for a simpler time and for childhood. (Ah, I’m making myself sad!)

  102. Lois says...

    I moved to Newfoundland from Ontario (Canada) 4 years ago.
    What I miss:
    4 distinct seasons
    warm summer evenings (& thunderstorms at night)
    Incredible ethnic diversity (and all the great food resulting from said diversity)
    My friends and family!
    What I don’t miss:
    Horrible traffic and ugly giant highways
    Being far from the ocean

  103. Jami says...

    I grew up in the once bustling mill town of Waterville, Maine. I miss the roads and fields I used to know, my close friendships from high school and the teachers and neighbors who knew me, my mom and my grandparents like the pages of a story. I don’t miss the restless, heavy ache to leave that I felt for 18 years. And now, at 28 and pregnant with my first child, I want nothing more than to move back there on my own (adult) terms!

  104. Lauren says...

    I have been living in San Francisco for the past 9+ years and am moving home to the Boston area this summer. As much as I have LOVED life in San Francisco, I never felt truly rooted here. Happily, I have found preparing for the transition to Boston to be less scary and sad than I thought it might be which makes me feel secure in our decision to move. I am excited to live near where I grew up and to explore and experience it with the eyes and mind of a 32 year old. I look forward to making new discoveries in a familiar place with my husband, putting down roots, and starting a family.

  105. kthrn says...

    I’m from New Hampshire and I miss QUIET.

  106. I recently left my home (which wasn’t really my hometown because we moved a lot, but this place was really dear to me because it’s where I attended and graduated from high school) and into a college dorm so there are a lot of things I miss about Manila:
    -Being able to travel easily throughout Asia
    -Our apartment that always caught the best afternoon sunlight and its soundtrack of my dog’s little bell collar jingling
    -McDonald’s. Delivery.
    -Living in a city that never felt quiet but never overwhelmingly noisy
    -Meal planning and buying groceries and actually cooking for myself
    -My helper and my driver, who were more family than staff by the time we left
    -The feeling of being different, in a great way, from the rest of my family and friends still living in the States

    Things I don’t miss:
    -The humidity
    -The traffic
    -Missing my best friend’s birthday & my cousin’s birth

  107. Jenny says...

    What a coincidence– I’m visiting home this week. I grew up in a rural town on a reservation. My mom’s house isn’t the porch swing type. It’s neglected, over-full of clutter in a way that can be menacing, and shows pretty clearly how hard she’s struggled to make ends meet for a long time. One of many in this town. Coming home is hard because I love my mom but I feel guilt and dread and confusion about not being poor anymore and wanting to help but not to offend. I want to clean the place top to bottom and leave the laundry done and the fridge stocked but I know that will hurt her pride. I’m proud of her but I don’t know how to live here anymore, in this town, this house, this way of life.

    • heather says...

      This comment is arrestingly brave and honest. Thank you.

    • joe says...

      Thank you for sharing

  108. catherine says...

    I wasn’t homesick until i read these two:
    – Overheard piano lessons.
    – Bumpy sidewalks covered in chalk.

    I’ll add a few more:
    – Climbing the tall weeping willow tree in my front yard
    – The sound of a lawnmower on a summer morning and the smell of the freshly-cut grass
    – Riding bikes to the local dairy and getting ice cream cones and slushies

  109. Cara says...

    I grew up in Sacramento, CA and have lived in a few cities now (Seattle, San Francisco and now Philly). I miss CA everyday! There are definitely things that I don’t miss about CA in general (the taxes, the traffic) but there are things I took for granted living in CA that I miss now (In-n-Out, ripe avocados, toilet seat covers in public restrooms, the nice beach (sorry, the Jersey shore is NOT the nice beach), good Mexican food, buying wine at Costco, no humidity, the list goes on and on). We are getting ready for another move soon to the south and it will be a whole different adventure since I’ve never lived there either!

    • jaclyn says...

      I live in Sacramento! I am from the Bay and I lived in NYC for college. The South- I have been many times. As a Californian, I can say you will love it (except for the humidity, which you will need to zen yourself into accepting). People are very nice and it’s beautiful! And it smells really good? Everyone is pretty chill compared to up North. Oh yeah and it’s cheap! <3 Good luck!

  110. I grew up in Bangkok. Moved there from a small town way south of Atlanta when I was four and spent my formatives years there. Moving away was hard and I’ve never quite felt at home anywhere else (also lived in delaware, germany, atlanta, florida, and boston — my dad worked for P&G). I freelance now and was lucky enough to be able to go back to Bangkok as an adult and work from there for a while last year, and things I missed that I didn’t know I missed were:
    – The weird, pungent smells that take your breath away (in an unpleasant way)
    – how chaotic crossing the street it, which surprisingly felt very natural to me
    – the nasal sound of the thai language
    – those dried fish laces
    – sour mangos, pomelo
    – 7/11s on every corner
    – the pace of life
    – my old school and the nurses office where my first tooth came out
    – the stray dogs… they are so much smaller than I remember
    – how cheap everything is
    – oh my god any and all of the fish dishes.
    – Villa, the expat grocery store with ALL of the international food I remember as a child

    What I DON’T miss:
    – all of the old white men with super young thai women. I can’t get behind that.

    I’ve had a lot of homes, and I miss them all for their own special reasons, but I don’t miss any quite like Bangkok. And for once in my life, going back was just as I remembered it, as if nothing had changed. It was a real treat.

    • Jeanne says...

      Oh Bangkok! I didn’t grow up there but we visited often as children. What I miss is the:
      -Incredibly, super-sweet ripe pineapple. There is nothing close to it in the US except Hawaii
      -The exotic fruits in general…custard apples, pomelo and longyan especially
      -Massive stems of Orchids with blooms the size of an open hand.
      -The delicious desserts laced with coconut milk and pandan
      -Soda sold in plastic bags with bouncy, rubber band handles and a straw
      -All the children wearing navy blue and white school uniforms
      -Monks in saffron robes collecting food early in the mornings
      -Tuk tuk rides, though my mom would cry we were all going to die.
      How mellow people were about cross dressing and transgender

      I don’t miss those men. Yeah ugh gross. And the unrelenting heat and humidity. And the poverty is heartbreaking although it’s much better now. But yeah, I know that exact pungent smell you speak of and it will bring me back to Bangkok too.

  111. LeighTX says...

    This is timely–I just had dinner Friday with a friend I’ve known since 3rd grade, a friend who, like me, wanted nothing more in life than to escape our small Tennessee town. Neither of us miss much about that town–not the Confederate flags in front yards, not the gossip, not the ignorance (or ignoring?) of a wider world. But there was an innocence there, growing up, that is hard to find in the large city where I’m raising my own children. I do miss that for them.

  112. Noelle says...

    This was a great read. I miss the smell of our local library – I can *still* smell it, a distinct musty, papery smell. And how cold it felt to walk in there after riding my bike there on a hot summer day (and alternatively how great it felt to walk back outside into the hot sun after spending some time in the AC). We also lived a block or so away from a big park by the river that ran through town – I spent so many summer days going down there.

    Now I just miss childhood, and summer :)

  113. Oh Stella, too funny. I grew up in Arkansas and went to gymnastics camp in Springfield, MO every summer!

    Regarding leaving though, I miss things about the South in general, but I miss very, very little about my actual hometown. The South though….

    The color of the sky after said thunderstorm
    Sweet tea
    Fried catfish
    The way the heat makes everything and everybody slow to a crawl
    Blues music
    Sunday gatherings at friends’ farms where we roasted a whole goat and the kiddos played in the stream naked

    Other than that I’m pretty good in Brooklyn. :P

  114. Jenny says...

    This is beautiful. It really paints a picture. I love your voice, Stella!

  115. Kelli says...

    Love this. I live in a small town in Arkansas and daydream about living in NYC after my husband, kids, and I vacationed their 2 years ago. I loved NYC and it’s interesting to hear others perspective on wanting to go back to small town. One of the reasons I love Cup of Jo is to experience a little of the city. Grass is always greener on the other side ?

    • Where in AR Kelli? I grew up there!

    • Liz says...

      I live in Batesville, AR! ?

  116. Kaitlyn S. says...

    I moved to New York right after high school graduation and lived there for five years with my boyfriend, then husband (we got married in that time). Then almost three years ago I moved back to my hometown in upstate NY; we had this grand idea that we wanted to buy a house and have a yard for the dog and own a car – you know those things that seem so alluring to people nearing thirty who’ve been married a while and decide they need to settle down?

    We never really settled down, and we’re moving again this summer – he’s heading to Napa to work a harvest, and depending on that we’re either moving to SFO or back to NYC. We never had that baby, and not really in a rush for it either. We do still have the dog, but he’s okay without a yard.

    The weirdest thing about moving back was the intense longing I felt for NYC – for about a year it was novel to be back in my hometown, but now it’s past. The town moved on and so did I. My real home is NYC – even if we end up in California, my heart will be back there.

  117. Lauren E. says...

    Why am I crying??

    I miss the little things about home. Driving to the grocery store. Opening the windows to get fresh air in the house. The house I grew up in with the red door that had the most distinct smell when the weather started to warm up. My parents! Our old church. My favorite breakfast spot with the unrivaled eggs benedict. WEGMANS. Always knowing where I’m going without GPS.

    Somehow living in New York City always felt like a stopover until real life started, despite the fact that I’ve been year for 12 years. Thanks for the incredibly thought provoking post :)

    • Alicia says...

      Haha! I’m with you, I have tears in my eyes too!

  118. Elizabeth says...

    I moved out of state for grad school and now that I’ve finished my degree, I’ve settled down here. I’m engaged to the person I met in my first semester and we’re buying a house. I moved from being 10 miles from Manhattan all my life to what I consider farm consider. I definitely miss the diversity, especially with restaurants, of back home. I also loved my hometown and remember walking all over the place with my best friend. I feel nostalgic for certain things, but I also remember being very ready to leave when I moved. I do not miss the horrible traffic, peoples’ aggression, and was just feeling like it was absolutely time for me to start fresh. I haven’t had the best relationship with my parents over the years and the distance has been good for us overall. Even though I’m settling into life up here, I still feel like something is missing or I don’t entirely fit. I can’t put my finger on what it is though. I also don’t see myself moving back home and know I don’t quite belong there either.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment, Elizabeth. It was really beautiful. Congrats on your engagement and buying a house!

      “Even though I’m settling into life up here, I still feel like something is missing or I don’t entirely fit. I can’t put my finger on what it is though. I also don’t see myself moving back home and know I don’t quite belong there either.” Really, really feel like that sometimes. It’s tough.

  119. Elisabet says...

    I loved your post, Stella! It really moved me. I first moved from Mexico to Spain. After some years I moved to Germany, where I currently live. Has been really hard for me to adapt to such a different culture and in the last yeras I have missed my little hometown more than ever. I used to think that once you leave home you would always have a feeling of estrangement inside of you but a good friend of mine once told me that instead of feeling I did not have a home I could feel like I have different ones now, as when I go back to Spain. Love the Maya Angelou quote. (This is my first poste ever after reading A cup of Jo for years). xoxo

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Aw, your note made my day, Elisabeth! Thank you. Love the idea of having different homes :) so sweet

  120. Tracy F says...

    “Overheard piano lessons” – yes! I moved around a fair amount while growing up and in early adulthood before finally discovering my own “home” in Seattle. But, that flashed me right on back to my first 10 years in South Carolina.

    I adore where I’ve landed and would never seriously consider moving back to NYC, but there are definitely days when I miss *real* bagels, the (sometimes discordant) melody of languages overheard on the street, secret gardens hidden in the middle of the concrete jungle, and the late night silence of a snow storm in the city.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Those descriptions are so lovely, Tracy. Thank you for sharing. I am now craving a bagel :)

  121. Jordan says...

    My aunt and uncle live in Springfield, MO and I have such fond memories of visiting when I was growing up and playing with my cousins. I’m from Des Moines, Iowa, and we would make the 8 hour drive to Springfield a couple times a year. My mom was obsessed with a home decor/furniture store there. We’d always have to pack light to fit in all the stuff she’d buy. Anyway, so fun to learn you’re from there!

  122. Katie says...

    I moved to Los Angeles from Rochester, New York 15 years ago. I miss the sky…the partly cloudy skies where sunlight would filter in and out throughout the day…I miss autumn, the foliage, snowstorms, rainstorms, Wegmans, browsing the Marshalls in Pittsford with my Mom, and all of the the space! Big yards, roomy houses, and uncongested roads! I think about moving back all the time…

    • Tracy says...

      I love that you list Wegmans! I’m from Buffalo and I try to describe how great they are to friends from out-of-town:)

  123. I loved this post – this was such a sweet & cute little read on this dismal NY day. :)

  124. I am from South Carolina and moved to NYC nearly seven years ago. As deeply as I love New York and feel at home here, I have such a fondness and ache for:

    Spanish moss
    Oak trees
    The slam of a screen door
    Sunday drives
    Porch sitting
    The wind in the pine trees
    Chatting at the checkout counter
    Big sky

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Yes to all of those things, Alexa! Love!

  125. Madeleine says...

    I moved to South Africa from France over 10 years ago. At first it was very hard and then as years went on and I created my life in SA, things became easier and eventually wonderful and I love it here but I miss France dearly. I miss walking in the streets without having a particular reason or destination. I miss the people, the food, the TV shows, hearing the language. But what is by far the hardest is that I miss out on a lot of “life”. Whenever I go back, people have gotten older, and as I, myself get older (I’m in my thirties), I am starting to get anxious when I think for too long about the fact that I spend so little time with my family. The older I get, the more I nostalgic I feel and the more I fear regrets. That being said, I feel incredibly lucky to have two amazing homes…two of the most strikingly beautiful countries in the world…

  126. Amanda says...

    What a fun thing to think about. I moved to Lake of the Ozarks, Mo., from Southwest Iowa. Guess I’ll never escape those brown recluse spiders. I miss family being nearby, the best little sub shop, and the tiniest movie theater with $5 admission. But, I sure love having that fully stocked Target, adventures on the lake at a moments notice, and a fun place for family and friends to come visit.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      This is so exciting to read, Amanda! Thanks for your comment. I miss going to Lake of the Ozarks so, so much. I am traveling there in 2 months :). Hope you are settling in alright. xx

  127. I’m still living pretty close to where I grew up, and do live in the town I went to high school in, though it’s not necessarily by choice. I happened to get a job at the university near my hometown after grad school, which has kept me here. Honestly, I’d prefer to move farther away. Besides the university, there’s not much going on here (though it is getting better), but it’s much more suburban/industrial than I prefer. I like the extremes. Either put me in a big city or in a cabin on a lake somewhere (probably not a farm). I lived in a big city during grad school and it was great. Things I miss about that? Reliable public transportation, plenty of events going on all the time, centers of culture, museums, Trader Joe’s ;) Things I don’t miss? High rents (that’s it).

  128. Leah says...

    The sentiment of “life going on without me” brought unexpected tears to my eyes. I will be moving to New York from halfway across the world in August and I have been feeling a deep wave of some sad/nostalgic feeling that I couldn’t put my finger on, but you did.

  129. Sarah says...

    A FULLY-STOCKED TARGET!! This absolutely speaks to me — I love living in Washington, DC but boy do I miss my suburban Super Target at home. My mom knows this and always finds some reason to stop there when I’m back just so I can explore.

  130. Heidi says...

    I was born and raised in San Diego and moved to Tulsa 12 years ago. I love my new city, and I surely do not miss the fast paced, traffic-filled California lifestyle. But, I can sum up what I miss about San Diego in one word.


  131. I’m from a small town just south of Seattle, and I moved to London over 10 years ago. There are so many things I miss (and don’t miss!) about small-town living and specifically, the US. Things I miss, like you, include Target and iced tea; the sight of Mount Rainier always on the horizon; and a bazillion choices of salad dressing. I miss THAT a lot. The 9-hour plane ride back home always feels like I’m being transported through a worm hole, transcending space and time, because the two cities are SO vastly different in terms of size, culture, vibe – everything! Each time I land at Seatac and Heathrow, I feel my heart pull a different direction – and it’s always so painful, but also so good.

  132. I moved across the country when I left for​ college and stayed in DC for a little over 8 years. It was definitely a good experience, but I now live in Austin, about three hours from where I grew up and it’s the perfect balance for me right now!

  133. Candela says...

    I’m from a small town in Argentina. I moved to go to college. And I won’t go back to live there. Since I was really young I wanted to leave.
    I miss: my backyard, the safety, silence
    I don’t miss: the gossip, the stillness
    I love the anonimity a bigger city gives you, I really needed it.

  134. Lauren says...

    What is a stock tank?? Sounds ominous.
    xoxo from CA

    • heather says...

      My sisters and I used to swim in the stock tank on our farm in VA. In retrospect it was pretty gross and slimy. I’m so glad I didn’t care about that at all as a kid. :-)

  135. shannon says...

    Stella, your one-line descriptions of your family members are the sweetest. They are lucky to have you :)

  136. L8Blmr says...

    I live across a bay from where I was born, but your list reminds me of lists I make of random things that happen during trips. When I need a good laugh or want to transport myself, I read through them – it always takes me right back … From India: “rogue waiter at Pushkar, 15 switches/1 burnt-out light, switch off geezer (geyser) on boiler!, Masala tea/95 degrees/sweet girl with big eyes”. Probably sounds random to anyone else, but to me, it’s as clear as the day it happened.

  137. Nikki says...

    There’s a quote from a children’s book, Grandfather’s Journey, by Allen Say that sums up my feelings about loving and having two places you consider home: “the moment I am in one country, I am homesick for the other.”

  138. Floortje says...

    I have moved from my hometown, 8 years ago and have since then lived in 3 other countries and currently in my 5th new city (Dallas, Tx). My ties to my hometown are very lose, I really feel like the only thing there is my family… I like the way you list all other things you miss, the not-so-obvious things. I’ll have to think about that, for now I’d say I only miss events (King’s day! Sinterklaas!) and I truly do not miss the weather (cold, dark, long winters).

    • Floortje says...


  139. Audrey F says...

    The quote at the end of your post made me tear up at my desk! I moved away from Dallas, Tx to Boulder, Co about 2.5 years ago. It was so hard to leave my huge family and the southern livin’. It wasn’t until my son was born last year as a Boulder native that it really started to feel like home in Colorado. Now I know this is where we belong and I’d miss the mountains so much if I moved back to Texas.

  140. The corollary to this is that NYC is simple a brutal, absurd place to live. Many of us enjoy it — or at least learn to endure it — but what you describe are very ordinary, middle-class American observances. What would life be like if our homes were just 5% larger, or if the rents were a mere 10% lower? What if we had washer/dryers in our apartments or had supermarkets where the aisles were wider than two average people’s shoulder width? We all miss a place where you don’t need noise-cancelling headphones just to survive a walk to the corner store. Ah, peace and quiet.

    I grew up in NJ and miss the very simple pleasure of waving hello to people as they mow their lawns or just pass you on the sidewalk. Doesn’t happen in Brooklyn, at least in my hood.

  141. I moved from Pittsburgh to NYC almost 5 years ago, which still sounds crazy to think or write out. I miss many things, things I never thought that would phase me or that I would even think about.
    I definitely miss downtime and just simply relaxing, the feeling that you’re not really missing out on anything because no one is Instagram-ing a new bar/cafe down the block. I miss being nearby my family and friends, that’s always the toughest to miss. I can agree with the fully stocked and quiet/clean Target runs too!

  142. Kelsey says...

    I’m from Kansas City, MO and moved to Tennessee. I miss lake culture! I’m curious if you had that experience in Springfield. Nothing like it here in Tennessee.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Yes, Kelsey!! So true. Lake culture is definitely a huge thing in Missouri. My friends and I were just chatting about how there are few things better than lounging on a lake dock.

  143. Loribeth says...

    I miss my favorite coffee shop and my mom’s cooking. I also miss my parent’s farm and long drives down dirt roads by myself when I needed to clear my head and do some serious thinking.

  144. Paula says...

    Im from Barcelona and have been living in New York City for almost 5 years. At this point, I honestly miss everything. I miss LIFE in Barcelona. Even though my experience in New York has been amazing and I would never regret it, the truth is it also makes me realize where I really belong. That is why Im coming back! :-D

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Love that so much, Paula! That’s the sweetest. I plan on going back to Springfield, too, when I’m ready to start a family. oxoxoxox

  145. Ruth says...

    After being away for 13 years and living in 3 major cities, I moved back to my home town, a medium city in upstate NY. My husband and I both grew up here and we moved back because we wanted a slower pace, wanted to buy a house (things are really reasonably priced here), and wanted to be closer to family. Fast forward almost 3 years and we do have a house, a baby who gets to see her grandparents every week (even though they aren’t as helpful as we had hoped) and good jobs. We don’t see ourselves staying here forever, as we crave a bigger, more diverse, more culturally aware city. We get scared of being trapped here but know that it’s working right now. Maybe someday we’ll move back to one of the bigger cities we love. So hard growing up!

    • Katy says...

      Ditto! After living in Chicago, then DC, my husband and I moved back to Minneapolis after being away for 10 plus years. We too moved back to be closer to family, we wanted to buy a house and we always knew we’d end up raising our kids where we both grew up. BUT, two years later, and we feel this it may not fit us any longer. After living in more urban cities, with walk-ability, diversity, we are longing for it again. And, same as you, we are scared of getting trapped here. For now, we are liking life in Mpls, but still dreaming of the day when we move to another big city with our two boys.

  146. Clara says...

    I still live in my hometown and I would have a hard time leaving to be honest. It’s the perfect size town for me and I know so many people here. If I had to move I’d miss the restaurants and entertainment options, the fact that you can go into town, or drive a few miles out and be at a lake or wooded area. I just love this place!

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Love that, Clara!!! It sounds so magical.

    • Christina says...

      Where is that?

  147. Linsey says...

    I moved 2 hours away from my hometown for college and never looked back. Over the past 10+ years I have lost touch with many hometown friends and find myself going “home” less and less. I honestly don’t miss it, though. I now live closer to a major city and love the life I have built in my town. It’s nice to see my parents, but I find myself getting homesick for my current neighborhood when I am away for too long.

  148. I moved away from Rhode Island to Los Angeles almost seven years ago, and this struck such a chord with me. I miss RI deeply, and it will forever and ever be my home, at my core. Los Angeles, however, is where all roads led me, and where I belong. It was hard to make that realization, but knowing that I have two homes that fill me with love and joy is really quite wonderful.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • molly says...

      RI native here too! I only live 2 1/2 hours away though so it’s easy to visit. In college, I lived 12 hours away and that was tough – I always missed the ocean and beaches.

  149. Krista says...

    14. Stock tanks used as swimming pools.
    I can still feel the cold somewhat rough steel on my feet and the way the ribbed sides felt as I pulled my fingers across them. We would also swim as fast as we could in a circle to try and create a whirlpool. (I grew up in Oklahoma).

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Yes, Krista!!!! I can picture exactly what you mean. Whirlpools were the best part of stock tanks.


    • Sarah R says...

      Yes! We did this in Missouri too – I’m from a family of 6 kids and I have pictures of all of us crammed in there enjoying a break from the midwest heat! :)

  150. Jojo says...

    grass, parks, good food, trails, the river, an eclectic mix of people, libraries, museums, parades, festivals, decorations on the street… (I’m an expat in a poor country.)