I’m sleeping on a narrow twin-size bed with one mattress stacked on top of another, holding two thin polyester pillows and a singular bed sheet. The fan above me spins slowly, creating the slightest breeze to ease the humidity, and the morning sun begins to creep in through the reflective windows.
I find myself here every year. My mom and uncle grew up in this room.
I’m in my grandparents’ apartment in Rio de Janeiro, the home they’ve owned for over 60 years, and I’m sleeping in their quarto dos fundos, which simply translates to the “room in the back.”
For all my life, my sister and I have made this room our home during the summers at our grandparents’. It’s in this room that my grandma would place the tooth fairy’s gifts underneath my pillows and where my grandpa would open the door every other hour to make sure we were actually asleep. It’s here where I had sleepovers, played board games and debated with my sister whether or not to turn on the air conditioning.
Moving to college, I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to make my dorm room feel like home. How could I make memories in a room that would only be mine for a year?
Growing up, I had gotten so accustomed to the layout and comfort of my childhood bedroom in New York, with maps sprawled out across the walls, panoramic frames of my favorite city skylines, Yankees posters, soccer paraphernalia and multiple pictures with my family and friends. I was worried my new room in college would be unrecognizable, a cold and distant place that would just make me miss my childhood bedroom even more.
I know it may seem illogical, but I felt that by leaving my childhood bedroom behind, I would be losing a piece of myself.
I’ve always found it really interesting how people choose to decorate their rooms, whether it be with multiple pictures, banners and posters or the more simplistic approach of blank walls. I truly believe the way a person decorates their room allows you to peer into their identity. It gives you a glimpse into their passions, their interests and what they enjoy being surrounded by.
I never really got to see my dad’s childhood bedroom, but I’ve heard stories about how my dad covered his wall with his favorite baseball cards and how his room remained nearly intact until my grandma sold the house. Now, years later, my dad still has his vast baseball card collection and raves about it. And furthermore, my grandma has carried all of her favorite picture frames, artwork, and decorations to her current home in Florida, with everything meticulously and thoughtfully placed on her ocean blue walls.
My point is, items don’t lose their value when you move from one place to the next. As I get older, I am starting to realize that no matter where I go, I bring my home with me. Home is not merely the objects that I hang up on my walls. Rather, it is the memories I share with my family and friends around me.
As I wrap up the final months of my sophomore year, I’m happy to say that my dorm room feels like home. I’ve brought elements of my childhood, like a Yankees poster and a Rio de Janeiro tapestry, and I continue to add new memories to my wall by taking lots of polaroid pictures.
Even though I’m older now and my feet now hang off the edge of the twin bed in the quarto dos fundos, this room still holds the familiarity of my childhood, precious memories that I will cling onto for the rest of my life.
Our rooms may change, but the memories they hold last forever.
Gabriel Lesser is a sophomore from Westchester, N.Y. studying Neuroscience and Romance Languages. He is a Social Media Manager for The News-Letter. His column explores his memories along with his current reflections and the lessons that he has learned.