It is pretty much the same.
Bryan College, I mean.
Oh, there are a few trees missing and certainly some new faces, but nothing particularly strange. They haven’t painted Mercer blue or anything. Dayton seems about the same. I am told there is a new yogurt place; Wal Mart and McDonalds are still standing strong (important facts for this student’s budget!) I suppose I haven’t been gone that long anyway. A summer. A semester.
It feels so much longer, though. The weirdest part isn’t the missing trees or that they turned Robinson’s computer lab into a “fitness center” (with absolutely nothing in it so I don’t know how useful it is.) The weirdest part isn’t even having a new roommate or reminding myself to go downstairs instead of upstairs for my room. The weirdest part for me is…
When I first came to Bryan College, there was a sense of displacement but also eagerness. Nobody knew me. I knew no one. Anybody might be my friend, everybody! Going to Oxford, I felt the same emotions. Once again, life was a blank sheet of paper to be explored and maybe even invented. Who would I end up being today? Going home is going back to where they know me. Back to family, back to childhood friends and adults who have known me since I was a baby. Familiarity.
Its a comfortable balance, what surprised me about coming back to Bryan College, however, was how many people knew me. I mean really know me. It is not that I forgot I had friends. It is more…I forgot friends stay in the same place. It is such a joy to see them all again. A surprising, wonderful joy. We’ve all changed some. Like Bryan College, a few trees have been knocked down and the computer lab got turned into a “fitness center”. They are here, though.
I have my place already established at Bryan College, and a semester away didn’t change that. I haven’t completely disappeared. Acquaintances nod and say… “Hey Amy.” At those two words, I look at them in surprise. Of course I know their names, but I’ve been gone! The faculty and staff greet me…usually pausing to beam down at me and inquire, “How was Italy?” (England…Italy…easy to mix up…especially when I’m wearing my Oxford hoodie.)
What is the strangest part about coming back to Dayton, TN? Realizing that life may not be a blank slate, and there is something wonderful about that. No uncertainly, I am loved by my friends. I have a place here at Bryan College. One I like. One I know.
It’s good to be back.