Based on a fictional character in a fictional movie in a fictional town that a friend and I created on a trip through South Africa. Of course lead character is Jean-Claude Van Damme as Sgt Jack Tussen in "Tussen Die Riviere".
There are a lot of things that change a person in their lifetime. Of course, there are the expected moments like deaths in the family, special birthdays, graduations and such. I think the one thing that changed me though was leaving the house and going out on my own for the first time.
I was always knew I was going to college after high school, it was not really a choice as it was just common knowledge around my house. Not that I was against it at all, actually I could not wait to leave.
When the time came to choose a college I decided to look all over the country. (I grew up and graduated in Turlock, California.) My school interviews took me from Spokane, Washington to Orono, Maine to Honolulu, Hawaii. I ultimately decided to attend the University of Maine in Orono, which meant that I would be making a cross-country journey away from the family and everything that was familiar.
After a wonderful cross-country trip with my father, I was ready to be out on my own for the first time, granted, I was living in a prepaid dorm with 3 meals a day, but I was out of the house.
I spent 4 years at school in Maine and loved every minute of it. I went back home for holidays and spring breaks, but my new home was Maine. During those 4 years, I never really missed anything about home. My dad always said,"Familiarity breeds contempt." I think he was right. I lived in California for 17 years, had seen pretty much everything I wanted to see and so I only saw the things that really annoyed me. Overcrowding, gangs, rude people were all things that just rubbed me wrong. Maine was the antithesis of everything I was used to. Different coast, different climate, different people and lifestyle, it was the best thing for me.
At this time in writing, I have lived in Maine for almost 6 years now. It really seems like my home and I love it. What is funny is that all those things in California that I had forgotton about or just took for granted are those things that I miss the most. Number one on that list is my family. When I lived back home, they were there and there was not anything really special about it. But now being gone for 6 years and seeing them only 1-2 times a year has really changed things. I think about my father who is 53 years old. If he lives to 75, does that mean I will only see him 44 more times. While 44 is a large number, does anyone want to put a number value to something like seeing your family?
I could sit here and list a lot of things I miss from back home, the Mexican food, my friends, the weather, but all of it takes a back seat to the family. Moving out of the house did give me some of the best times of my life, but also taught me how much I cared for my parents and sister. It taught me that the way my town looked was probably not as bad as I thought it was, but I chose to see only the things that pissed me off, and none of those things that I truly enjoyed. In a sappy kind of way, I found out how strong the family bonds are and how much I missed feeling them.