I have just finished my year abroad; I spent it in a quaint town called Colmar, in eastern France. I usually study in Leeds, the UK's third largest city - though it doesn't actually feel that big! I was brought up in a city called Chester and, until going to university, had lived there all my life.
Colmar has been my home for the last seven months. It is a beautiful town in Alsace - a French region which, over the last century, has been both French and German territory. The region has a very interesting history and a strong sense of identity. Alsatians (this is the word for people who come from Alsace, but it is also the name of a breed of dog!) are very friendly people. Whilst I lived in Colmar, I worked as a language assistant in a secondary school. I taught English to several classes and over the year I grew quite attached to my students: I enjoyed making lessons that they would enjoy and games that would make them laugh. Telling each class that it was my last lesson with them was odd; it is likely I will never see most of these students again. I almost cried on my last day; I didn't want to leave this beautiful town, nor my lovely colleagues and students, behind.
Leeds is the city where I attend university. I have made several really good friends there (including my boyfriend) and it was hard knowing I wouldn't be there this year. Last year, I shared a house with six other people - it was such good fun and I have some incredible memories of our time together. When I left Leeds in June last year, it was odd to think that I won't return until this September. In just two short years, Leeds became my home: I knew where to go for which things, the good places for a day out, the nice places to eat and who I could turn to for help. It was difficult to leave that support network behind.
Last but not least: Chester. I am lucky to have a great group of friends from secondary school; we still meet up when we're back in Chester and it's always nice to catch up. I've been friends with one girl since nursery - that's a friendship which has lasted for around sixteen years! Being in Chester means spending time with my family - my mother, father, sister and pet gerbil, Fred. Chester is also home to one of my favourite places: Chester Zoo. It's the UK's number one zoo and I still love to visit it.
Now, I'm feeling rather confused. I no longer know which place to call home. This is a strange feeling and also one which makes me feel both happy and sad. On the one hand, it's nice to have several places where I feel at home, with people that are good friends. On the other hand, when I'm in one place I miss the other two - which can make me feel quite sad.
How many places do you call 'home'?