At the start of the year, one of my biggest worries was that the Brockton house would not feel like home to me. However, my favorite part of living in community with three other people is that we all get to take pieces of where we came from, share them with each other, and use them to make our community feel like home. Admittedly, it took a little while for us all to get used to living together, which was expected seeing as we all come from very different backgrounds. But now that we are a few months in, we’re more comfortable and willing to share our interests and traditions and even start making a few of our own. By sharing meals nearly every day of the week, reflecting together, and even just hanging out on the couch on weeknights, our little community is really starting to feel like home to me.
As of November 7th, three out of the four of us have celebrated our birthdays in this house. Mine was November 4th and I’m one of those people that absolutely loves their birthday. But in the couple weeks leading up to it, I was feeling very homesick and I wasn’t looking forward to birthday like I usually do. I missed my family and friends and I didn’t know what it would be like to celebrate a birthday without them. I didn’t have many expectations and just wanted to enjoy the day without getting too homesick.
On my birthday, I had a wonderful day at the House of Possibilities, complete with a few beautiful cards from some of the clients. After work, we went out to dinner at a restaurant in Brockton. When we got home, I was ordered to go upstairs and after a few minutes, I came down to Giuliana, Alphonse, and Melissa blasting Taylor Swift’s “22” from our speakers and singing happy birthday to me. I even got a delicious cake from White’s Bakery (one of the very few things we splurge our stipends on), thoughtful gifts, and decorations. I couldn’t believe how much work they put into my birthday. The moment that really made me feel grateful to be part of this community occurred when I opened my birthday card. It’s a tradition between my oldest sister, Emily and I to get each other cards with funny pictures of animals on them. So, when I opened my card from my housemates and saw laughing zebras on the front, it truly felt like home.
I can’t count the number of times I have seen Giuliana walk into our kitchen and say, “it smells like home in here.” I’ve gotten that same feeling multiple times in this house. I feel it when we all watch Chopped together (a family favorite in the Cupelo household) and when we share highs and lows at dinner, which is something my friends and I did during nearly every meal together at college. There are positives and negatives that come with being part of such a small community. But the fact that we are able to bond so well and get to know one another on a deeper level than if we had more people living with us is most certainly a positive. I am extremely thankful for my housemates and look forward to the many more traditions we are sure to make this year.