Unpacking my suitcase this morning, I realized that I brought bits of animal fur from the Portland menagerie across the country with me. The dog’s course white hairs were woven into the fleece of the cheap neck pillow I bought at the Newark airport on the way out to Portland last week. Silky black whisps from the 14-year-old cat lined the bottom of my argyle socks. Longer gray strands from my sister’s cat Woody marked the cuff of a pair of black pants that hadn’t gotten washed yet.
These remnants of my Portland tugged at me and for a moment, I was fiercely homesick. Upon my many returns to Philly, I have always experience feelings of confusion. I spend the first couple of days back questioning whether the east coast is still the place for me, and I contemplate what life would be like if I returned to the coast of my birth. Right now I am committed to this city because of school. I also have many wonderful friendships that keep me here. But as I approach the 5th anniversary of my move here, I start to wonder how much longer this city will be my home.