One of the strange things about being at home after not living here for so long is seeing all of the places that I used to haunt but don't usually see when I'm only home for shorter visits over Christmas or on weekends.
The first few years that I was at university I used to play "find what's changed in the house" every time I came home. Since we only moved the summer before I moved out, it took my parents a while to get things unpacked and arranged, and buy new things to fill the new space, so there was actually something new and different on almost every visit. This has slowed down now, though, so usually the changes, if there are any, are fairly minor.
The other fun game I'm used to playing is "see which stores have closed out of the mall." This time it was CD Plus. Since the Wal-Mart was built when I was in high school, and a lot more big box stores have moved in near it, a lot of the stores have either followed them up there or gone out of business. I feel like someday I'll come back and the mall itself will have vanished, leaving nothing but an empty parking lot for a town that's becoming more and more dependent on car culture.
Those are the usual games, but this time I'm getting to explore things in a more in-depth way. Today I drove the road that was my route to and from school for six years, which I hadn't seen in at least two or three years. A patch of forest has turned into two houses. A barn near my old home had been repainted from a light grey to a dark burgundy red, and it caught my attention so much that I nearly drove off the road. Another house had been repainted, and I realized that I can't even say what colour it was before. It was that familiar. Just part of the landscape; not noteworthy until something was changed. It's been interesting to rediscover my familiar landscapes, and being startled into truly noticing for the first time in ages.
"And The Streets Are Paved With Chee-eeese!"
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