What Evanston has meant to me: A letter to one of my homes

I’ve never liked change. Maybe that stems from having a hard time letting go of things or just loving them too much. Or, maybe it’s just because I’m a nostalgic person. Either way, it’s always hard to say goodbye to things when you don’t really want them to end. 


That’s probably why I can’t wrap my head around the fact that I’m graduating high school next week. What is life after high school? High school has become one of the constants that I’ve found comfort in, even if various parts of it weren’t great. I know my future self will (hopefully) have all of these seemingly daunting things figured out, but for right now the idea terrifies me, because truthfully, I have absolutely no idea where home will be for me in a year, much less a few months. Faced with the reality that my family’s moving to Pennsylvania, and that I’ll be moving to college, it’s hard to decipher where I’ll consider home. 


Home, according to the Oxford dictionary, is defined as the place where one lives. But after moving around so much, my idea of home seems to have shifted. When I think of home, I think of the people and places where I can be my most authentic self and feel like I belong. 


For this reason, I’ve always considered Sweden my home. Having grown up with friends and family, close proximity to my favorite beach, and access to the most beautiful views, I didn’t ever see myself leaving. So when the news that we needed to move to the U.S. came around, you could imagine my reaction. Within a few months I was swept up from everything I had ever known and suddenly 4,286 miles from home. I ended up here in Evanston, and little did I know the impact this place would have as I now venture off to find a new home. The comfort of being at home is quite a privilege, and Evanston has provided me with a plethora of people and places I will forever treasure. 


ETHS has become a home of sorts, where my teachers and counselor have helped me grow inside and outside the classroom, and advocated for my success. It’s where I spend my mornings in the band hall, my lunch at SOAR, and my afternoons busy with whatever’s going on that day. It’s where I’ve found spaces like SOAR. SOAR has become a community of some of the coolest people, constantly indulging in the most interesting conversations, and acquiring skills I’ll take with me wherever I go. 


The Evanstonian has become a home. I’m forever thankful my timid sophomore year self decided to stay for the information session, and found my way over to the ambitious group of writers in the Opinion section. As I sit here and over analyze my last ever piece for the Evanstonian, my very first piece comes back to me. 


The Evanstonian is where I’ve met and worked with incredible people that always push me to work my hardest and set new goals for myself. It’s where I’ve transformed the opinions swarming in my head into (often way too long) articles that shed light on issues I’m passionate about. Where I’ve learned how to craft a story effectively, and had a creative outlet full of engaging conversations. Where I’ve discovered a love for interviewing and researching to uncover the perspective of others, and where I’ve discovered the power my voice can have in challenging and analyzing everything around me. 


My friends and family have always been a home, a place I can go to be reminded of all the love that surrounds me. These are the people that have supported me when I needed it most and been there to share every laugh. My mom in particular has always been there to listen when I’m venting about my frustrations at 1 a.m, and reminds me to take a breath because most of the time I’m overthinking it. 


Evanston is my home. There is so much love in my heart for this place, and it encompasses all of the things I’m most thankful for. Growing up in Evanston has meant transitioning between three different homes, climbing monkey bars on every single playground and rating which one has the best swing set. It’s meant spending every summer day at the beach or down by the rocks after storming CVS for our favorite snacks. It’s meant going on drives down Sheridan road blasting old 2000’s music and wandering around Target with no intent of actually buying something. It’s meant taking my dog for walks around the neighborhood just to be out of the house, and bonfires in my backyard. 


There is a new sense of comfort in the fact that I have the ability to start a new chapter in my life, where I can create a sense of home wherever I want. I’d like to think I’ve gotten better at accepting that change doesn’t have to be about dwelling on what’s to come or what used to be, but an opportunity to continue exploring who I want to be and grow far beyond my comfort zone. 


So, as I wrap up this piece and say goodbye to Evanston, I’m happy to know it will forever be a composition of my favorite memories, and the place I’ll return to when I’m yearning to come home. 


Thank you, Evanston.

Love, Linnea 

Songs that remind me of Evanston:

Idle Town- Conan Gray

Good Time – All Time Low  

Buzzcut Season- Lorde 

Sleep on the Floor- The Lumineers 

It Gets Better- Rex Orange County 

Home- Edward Sharpe and the Magazine Heroes 

Walking in the Wind- One Direction ? 

Starting Line- Luke Hemmings ?