Gonzaga: A Home Away From Home

by Miguel Robledo, ’20

Home away from home was a phrase that growing up I never understood.

It never made sense to me why I would choose to live in a place other than Brownsville TX. I grew up there and moved there when I was about 3 years old. Every single relationship I have ever had, every interaction, every face on the street and salutation I gave belonged to the small Mexican-American city of Brownsville. I thought I would go to school in state so I could continue to eat tacos and go home every couple of weekends and eat my mom’s traditional Mexican meals.

Fast forward with my life and I’m now a junior at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. I’m so far from home and my first couple of steps here I was scared. I didn’t know if I was going to fit in with the population here, the values, the way people do things and most importantly, the food. I looked around the first couple of days and nothing was familiar to me. How could I make Spokane Washington my new home and embrace it? I knew this was my home away from home after the new friends I made here made me feel welcome.

Whenever I walked back to my room from a long day of school and studying I would be greeted in my residence hall full of friendly smiles and people cracking jokes to make me feel better. I was greeted usually with my room full of my friends all hanging out where I was supposed to live because they would hang out with each other in my room and wait for me to go in.

I felt at home whenever I got invited to go eat with friends during the first few weeks at school when I didn’t want to go eat alone. School opened the doors for me and I was launched into such a different community than the one that took me years to establish in Texas. I felt welcome just a week or two after setting foot in Spokane for the first time. Gonzaga opened their doors to me and I was received with open arms upon arrival. It has sheltered me, it has provided for me, it has cared for me just as much as my community at home has.

After just two years now, I can now change the definition of home.

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