One thing I enjoy most about visiting my parents’ house is the silence at night, a silence that’s punctuated only by the sounds of crickets chirping. Crickets are weird beasts… they can be incredibly annoying, chirping away in your basement while you just search for the damn thing, but when there are dozens of them outside in the woods at night, reminding you that they’re there, they make sleeping a little bit easier.

I moved to Virginia four years ago after college and I looked for that feeling I get when I visit my parents’ house, laying in bed with the window open. I continued to look for that contented feeling two years ago when Huyen and I bought our house. But that peace eluded me… like I couldn’t find that quiet, meditative nature at night without being in the woods, back in New Jersey. But, a few weeks ago, I noticed something.

There are crickets here, too.

It was one of the first cool nights after a long summer of obnoxiously hot ones. The window was open, I was laying in bed, and Huyen was checking her e-mail. I paused for a moment, and felt the tightness in my shoulders relax a bit. My mind stopped racing, thinking about work, all the things that I owed people, all the coming weekends that were booked.

And I listened to the crickets.

They’re out there. Not in full force like at my parents’ house, but there’s still an army out there, chirping away, somewhere in the distance. And when I took notice that they had followed me to Virginia, I really felt like I was home. Like this is where I’m meant to be right now, and that that peaceful feeling is within reach, wherever I may be, physically. Maybe even when the crickets aren’t there.

It’s like when you first move out of your parents’ house and when you’re going back to visit them, you tell people, “I’m going home,” even though you don’t live there anymore. It takes a while to realize that home isn’t a place you used to live or are going to live someday… it’s where you are when you come to that realization.

When I make trips to New Jersey for movies or to visit family, I doubt I’ll slip at the lip anymore. I won’t accidentally answer, “I’m headed home” when someone asks what I’m doing this weekend. Instead, I’ll say, “I’m headed to New Jersey.”

“I’ll be back home on Sunday.”