I have never been a home-body. My house has only been a place to sleep and mark my calendar for the next event. I have always found my joy in the world outside my house. Things like sleepovers with my friends, working long hours at my summer soccer camp, or smelling the highway on the way to my next adventure, are what kept me going. It wasn’t until recently that I have learned to understand the true meaning of home.

Due to the current global pandemic, I have been spending more time than ever living solely in the confines of my home. At first, these 10 rooms felt unfamiliar, as if I was a stranger within these walls. However, I began to notice how everything in my house has a special meaning for my family. That is what makes it my home. The difference between a house and a home is the memories.

A house is a museum of your family’s life, each room an exhibit dedicated to a different member. My exhibit lives primarily within my room. The photos on my wall are all a direct view into some of the best moments in my life with the people I love most. Even objects that look like nothing more than 378 pages between two hardcovers have special meaning. There is a book on my shelf that I have made every friend I have ever had read. Its pages are painted in the fingerprints of their own inquiring minds, restless to turn the page. Even the unused spoon from Menchies that lives in the bottom of my nightstand drawer reminds me of the late-night frozen yogurt runs my best friend and I make when she comes home from college for the weekend. My house is where all my memories, good and bad, merge and live in harmony as a display of the life I have lived thus far. Everything in my home, from the eraser shavings cemented into the divets of my desk to the junk drawer in the kitchen, has a direct link to memories I have made.

Even those activities that bring me joy away from my home have a place in between these four walls. The blankets in the living room have been attendees to many movie nights with my friends. In my dresser rests the jersey that is drowned in the signatures of all my students that attended soccer camp last summer. Even my car keys that rest on my desk serve as a reminder of all the times they have started my engine and dangled from my neck as I wandered around town. When other people see my home, they just see a house full of items, but when I see it, I see my past. The memories are what separates a house from a home.