“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

“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.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our guiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In five years we have published over 300 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our volunteer student editors and writers come from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). We have an all volunteer staff. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang and NSR Student Editors and Writers. For a brief summary of our history, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

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.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu


Filed under Professor Hong-Ming Liang

11 responses to ““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

  1. Madina Tall


    What a lovely article! I absolutely love that one can find their “home away from home” in places that one would never expect to. For a lot of people, the senses are the easiest way to resonate one place to the other. Just like your superOne experience, I personally feel most at home when I eat food from my hometown. Smells also bring me back to specific moments from home and I think that it’s nice we’re able to experience things like this!

  2. Catherine Swenson

    I really enjoyed reading this because I relate to your guilt leaving home quite a lot. I am relieved to know that I’m not the only one who feels uncomfortable stepping outside of their childhood town even though I’m sure it is way more common than we all think. We’re often bombarded with social media posts that show people our age going off to other parts of the world for “adventure” and to “find themselves.” Truth is, that stuff is a whole load of crap for many reasons and it is okay to be attached to places we find familiar. Although it is healthy to explore and push boundaries, it is also important to remember and cherish where we came from. Thank for sharing! I am going to go cry about how much I miss my dog who lives in St. Paul now.

  3. Katelyn Fischer

    Hi DyAnna!

    I love how you desribe home. I would have never thought of home like that, but it totally makes sense. I kind of had to laugh, because your first night at CSS sounded very similar to mine! Six hours away from home, in an unfamiliar place, and complete strangers surrounding me was what I went to sleep with, and woke up with in the morning. For me, my first year here at CSS was the first time I had been away from home or family for more than a week or two at a time. At that point, I would never have called CSS home. But after living here for a year, Duluth has become that place, the feeling that I miss over Winter break and Sumer break. Now I think I have two places that feel like home to me, and I think that is the best thing ever.

  4. Ashley DeJuliannie

    Thank you for sharing your perspective on home. This is something that I often think about. I used to only associate my childhood home as “home.” Now I strongly believe home is more of a feeling. I find myself finding a sense of home in a variety of things. I notice this more as I start to live an independent life away from my parent’s house. Do you plan on living in Roseau ever again?


  5. Cassandra Mahlberg

    Wow, DyAnna. Thank you so much for this article. I struggled a lot last semester with the concept of home and whether or not I would be betraying my hometown if I loved somewhere else more. This article makes me think not. I will simultaneously feel at home and away from home, probably for my whole life- somehow, embedded in my bones is this call to run away from Duluth and never look back, but I always miss it when I’m gone. Likewise, I feel a deep yearning for a place far away in which I’ve never actually lived, but have traveled to. I feel a sense of security in your perspective. I am allowed to have more than one home and I don’t need to feel ashamed of longing for change. I can’t wait to leave this place and rekindle the spark that burns when I’m missing home. I can’t wait to find a home in which I feel I truly belong as my restlessness says Duluth is not it.

  6. Elijah Ortega

    Hi Dyanna,
    This article was extremely relatable and I very much enjoyed how you put into words the feeling of home. I find my feeling of home is very much when im surrounded by those who can make me laugh and feel comfortable, not so much a fixed location much like your definition. I remember my first time studying abroad in Peru, before having left the United States I was very afraid to leave my home and family, but having stayed in Peru for the first 2 months I found my sense of home drastically changing to more of a feeling than an actual location.
    Thank you for the delightful read.

  7. Tamer Mische-Richter


    I think so many people are able to relate to this article and I judge that to be a positive thing. Leaving home to start your own adventure challenges your entire upbringing. The strings you stretch when you initially leave your families home do not break, however they become thin. Small portions allow you to relive some of your days, i.e. SuperOne, and some aspects are lost altogether. Home is able to hold such an abstract definition when leaving one home to create another.

  8. Samantha Willert

    Hi Dyanna,

    I really enjoyed reading your article! Like a few others, I never thought of home being described like that. I can and cannot relate to you in a few ways. For one, my hometown is only an hour and a half from here. However, I can relate to the fact that I was afraid to be “on my own” when I moved up here even though I had already met my roommate before. Not many of the people I graduated with had left to go to college from my town but I wanted to get out of there. I felt free coming up here; like there was more option of things to do. I will always miss my “home” where I grew up, but I love having a new home up here in Duluth with my friends who feel like family. Thank you for sharing your article.

  9. Phillip Truax

    What a lovely article. In this time of the winter season when everything i feel is dark but yet white,a person often drifts into there thoughts. Much like you, i think of this idea of home. I have always liked the expression that home is where the heart lays but, they don’t tell you that your heart can lay in so many places. i think we all do or go somewhere that reminds of where we came from, i watch old PBS nature films.

  10. Aleah Rubio

    Hi DyAnna,
    Your post is an amazing example of how home is such a meaningful part of a person’s life. I never have experienced the feeling of missing home until I studied aboard. I have a family house in Duluth so I am very familiar with the city and what it has to offer. I think that is what made it so easy for me to move in and start freshman year without being homesick. I am from the cities so I miss using highways to get to place to place and having more than one Target in the whole city. No matter where your home is, it will always be apart of you and who you are.

    Thank you for such a great post,

    Aleah Rubio

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