“Home is a feeling you miss when it’s not around” – The Meaning of Home – by DyAnna Grondahl. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports
Duluth became home the moment I realized that I had the five hour drive to my parent’s house in Roseau memorized.
[Source of photo: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Superior%5D
Hermantown, Floodwood, Grand Rapids, Deer River, Northome, Kelliher, Baudette, Warroad, Roseau – Finally. The first hour and a half go quickly. Then it’s time for a stop in Deer River, because it’s going to be a while until the next Holiday station. The second hour comes quickly, but passes slowly. As does the third, and even the fourth. Baudette marks the final hour, and you’re home free.
The trip back is just the same, but the small towns go backwards, time moves more slowly, and Grand Rapids is the sign of hope that the drive will soon end.
There’s a giant, ugly swamp between Grand Rapids and Floodwood. I don’t know if it is the gnarled, black trees or the dead, yellow ground, but this portion of the drive to Duluth is where I frequently found myself uncomfortable- most notably, overcome with feelings of abandonment, shame, and grief. These moments also marked a transition back to reality – it’s the part of the drive when I actually realize I am headed back to Duluth, and I am not sure when I will be going north again.
Throughout last semester, I spent a lot more time thinking about home than I initially expected. While we discussed different facets of migration and its implications, it was clear – home can’t be just one place. Simultaneously, home means a variety of things to different people. Growing up in a stable-yet-chaotic-ten-person household paints a very different picture of home than many have experienced. If I’m being honest, I think my first night in the dorms at CSS marked my first time being alone – ever. In addition, my idea of home has been heavily influenced by my work at the Safe Haven Shelter and Resource Center – a domestic violence agency in Duluth.
Alas, last semester when I started my intentional pursuit of a definition of home, I finally realized what was happening on my drives to and from Roseau. As one of the 8 people who didn’t stay in town or go to UND after graduation, I was officially breaking out of the bubble – and I felt guilty about it. I felt like I was betraying my upbringing and my small town roots. I was supposed to work my way up to run the bakery and settle down. Instead of doing so, I chose to create a new home in Duluth.
Duluth and Roseau really aren’t all that different. The towns share important staples like hockey, Scandinavian roots, and, perhaps most importantly, SuperOne stores. One of these three things, while I didn’t realize it when I enrolled at St. Scholastica, became an important part of my definition of home.
Home is a feeling you miss when it’s not around.
I’ll outline this definition with an anecdote:
My first night in Duluth was absolutely terrifying. I left Roseau by 9:00am, arrived in Duluth by 2:30, and moved into my dorm. Late in the afternoon, I decided to get out to explore the city behind the wheel (as if I hadn’t done enough driving already). When I found myself circling up and down Mesaba and 4th Ave W, I decided my adventure wasn’t productive enough to continue. After my return to my dorm, the panic of relocation really set in. I was full of anxiety and I missed my dad – a lot. So, as any rational human being would, I decided to go to SuperOne. This trip to the grocery store brought me an unreasonable amount of comfort.
My dad has managed the local grocery store in Roseau for over 20 years. It has changed hands a number of times, but in 2013 Miner’s Inc bought it. Since then it has been a SuperOne store. Walking in to the SuperOne on Kenwood I was greeted with the same colors, smells, and mediocre to moderately good service I could expect from my dad’s store in Roseau. With that, I was able to pacify my longing for the familiar feeling of home, and I felt assurance that I could make Duluth home, too.
Now Duluth is my home where I have an “adult” job, a parking spot, and four wheels that can take me to my other home without even looking up the directions.
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Professor Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports. Ellie Swanson and Marin Ekstrom, Assistant Managing Editors, The North Star Reports.
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