Always home

I’ve lived in Lincoln in my entire life.

When visitors and new students ask me where I’m from, I point down and say, “Here!” I was born a few miles down the road from Union at Bryan East; I’ve been in Adventist education since kindergarten and I’ve been going to College View Church since cradle roll. When I get asked if I’m going home for breaks I always sigh and tell them, “I’m always home”.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Lincoln. It’s small enough to feel safe but big enough where I don’t feel like the only thing to do is go to Walmart or the gas station. One of my earliest memories is getting my head stuck in the train-shaped jungle gym down in the Haymarket and being soothed with an ice cream cone from Ted & Wally’s—Ivanna Cone’s predecessor.

My memories are scattered across this town, from the street where I had my first kiss, to the parking lot where I learned to ride my bike. This is my home.

I’ve been running across Union’s campus since primary sabbath school. During camp meeting we’d all walk over and play capture the flag across the broad lawns. I took swimming lessons at Larson, performed in Woods while in middle school, walked across campus to the (former) Dairy Queen,and even attended vespers weekly to hang out with friends. I job-shadowed Mr. Blake my senior year at CVA. Even though I wasn’t part of the campus family yet, Union was just as much part of my life as the rest of Lincoln.

I never considered leaving for college. My financial situation didn’t allow this, so I decided to attend community college for my generals and figure out where I wanted to be after that. God had different plans.

Three months before graduation, something clicked. I was going to come to Union, it was where I belonged, finances or not. Sure enough, everything seemed to just ... work out.

Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling. When I travel, I can’t stop smiling. My goal is to make enough money to travel and see all the wonders this world has to offer. But when the trip is over, I’m always excited to fall back into my own bed.

Every fall, no matter how much I dread the impending homework and stress, I can’t help but look forward to everyone coming back and reforming the family I love so much. Union has become another home. I may sleep at my house, but I find myself relaxing just as much on campus as I do at home. Every person, every class, every building. It’s become a part of me just like my hometown has.

It’s comforting to know I’m always home.

Graci Escobar is a junior English major with an emphasis on speaking and writing. She loves cats, napping, reading, cuddling cats, browsing independently unpublished stories, binge-watching Netflix, and petting cats. Born and raised here in Lincoln, Graci would love to see the ocean more than seven times and hopes to one day hug every cat in the world.