By: Chris Long
Last week, I was heading down to a lifeguard orientation at NC State. While driving there I had two ways to go–either around the city on 440, or right through downtown via McDowell Street. Knowing that both would take an equal amount of time, I decided to take the scenic route and head straight into downtown. As I turned on the curve where Capital Boulevard becomes McDowell street, I noticed the traffic light turning yellow. Instead of gunning it to get through the light, I tapped the brakes and came to a halt. As the car came to a stop, I turned my head and rolled down the windows to take a good look at the city which I proudly consider to be my home.
For years I have complained about how much I can’t stand living in North Carolina. From politics to sports to weather, I have always seemed to find something that I didn’t like about living in the Old North State. However, as a high school senior soon heading to college in Pennsylvania I have begun to realize that, as much as I complain about living here, I will miss it incredibly.
I was born at Wake Med Hospital in Raleigh and lived the first 3 years of my life in a neighborhood in North Raleigh off of Durant Road. When I was 3, my dad’s job forced us to move to Massachusetts where we lived for a short time before returning to Wake Forest in 2005. Since then, the Triangle has become my home.
And there is no place like home.
This is where my allergy doctor choked up when coming back with my allergy test results when I was one.
This is where I went to my first professional sporting event, a Durham Bulls game just a few months after the turn of the century.
This is where I jumped for joy in the bonus room after watching the Red Sox win the World Series, and where I sat in stunned silence after witnessing Kris Jenkin’s buzzer beater in the college basketball national championship game.
This is where my dad stayed up late to help me study for a test the next day, and the place where he took me to many a Carolina Hurricanes game. Just me and him growing closer, losing our voices screaming for our beloved team.
This is where I first learned to ride my bike, riding up Marshall Farm street with my proud parents joyously running behind.
This is where my dad taught me how to catch a baseball and the place where I broke both pinkies catching a football.
This is where I learned to love the sport of swimming and the place where it was taken away from me.
This is where I learned how to drive my little toy cars and the place where I learned how to drive a real car.
This is where I met my best friends and where I met those who I knew I did not want to associate with.
This is where I made my parents proud and where I disappointed them.
This is where I went to my first high school football game and where I sat stunned after a buzzer beater eliminated the Heritage basketball team from the 3rd round of the state playoffs.
This is where I began first grade and the place where I will graduate from high school.
This is where I was born and the place that will forever be my home.
I have 3 months left in Raleigh–months that will be full, no doubt, of new memories. After that, I’ll spend 4 years in State College, Pennsylvania, and then I am off into the real world. There is no telling where life will take me, but there is no doubt that Raleigh will always be my home. And whenever I return home, I’ll drive down the streets of the Triangle remembering all the moments that have made me realize that I could not imagine growing up anywhere else.