The smell of home

Alyssa goes home with her roommate for the weekend and realizes the blessings of family and familiarity.


Alyssa Alvarez, Writer

Last weekend we took yet another trip in my roommate Abby’s faithful VW Bug (read about our previous adventure here). This time we headed to her home for the weekend, putt-putting through the rain with windshield wipers that don’t wipe. This forced Abby to roll down the window, manually wipe a corner of the windshield, roll the window back up, and repeat. This caused our hall-mate (a first time rider in Old Faithful) to emit nervous cries of fretted endangerment in between songs of the girliest playlist you could ask for.

We arrived and returned safely despite broken wipers in the rain, a gas gage that doesn’t move, and a back seat that would make Dobby the house-elf feel too big. Even better, we got to bake cupcakes and cookies to bring back with us and ate Mexican food that would blow your mind. Seeing Abby’s home and family made me feel a little more welcome in her world, which was great. But my enjoyment of the trip didn’t come primarily from all of the reasons above.

It was my panicky hall-mate who gave me perspective.

Walking into a home was normal for me. I have been home sporadically this semester, felt the comfort of familiar rooms, places, and smells. Seen and hugged my parents, petted my dog and eaten home-cooked food. I have felt the Home Feeling.

My hall-mate hadn’t seen a home since she said goodbye to hers in NorCal in August.

I felt blessed just listening to her reactions and feelings. Her wide-eyed joy at pulling into a cul-de-sac, walking up a driveway, and stepping through the threshold of a place someone called home was a strange thing to watch, but made me the most thankful I have been in weeks. Her excitement at hearing the house phone ring, being in a real kitchen, and seeing a pool in a backyard blew me away, but blessed me beyond what I had expected of this light-hearted day trip.

My thankfulness was renewed and my heart humbled. Before I left for Biola, my dad told me to make friends with people who didn’t live close by for this very reason: we could offer our home to them, a home cooked meal, and a refuge away from school.
What else could I do but invite the girls to my own home in the coming weeks? It was the least, and in some ways the most, I could do to welcome them to my home anytime they wanted, in the hopes I could somehow bless them as much as they have been blessing me.

More road trips, here we come!

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