How My Life Has Changed Now That I'm Closer to Family

“Hannah, you’re going so far away from your parents! Isn’t that going to be so hard?”


This was a typical question I got as packed up in Arizona and got ready to make my journey to Massachusetts.  I am very fortunate that I have a very close relationship with my parents and sister but we are the only family members on either side of my family that live outside of New England.  My whole life I have longed to live on the East Coast so that I could be closer to my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents and while I have been living here for less than two months, I can definitively say that my relationship with my extended family has changed in amazing ways.


(photo from Pixabay)


In an average year, I would see my whole family 2-3 times and only during big holidays.  As we all know, these holidays are amazing but don’t really allow for long, deep conversations and so every time I felt like we would just catch each other up on the last 6 months of our lives and then it would be time to leave.  Now I have a cousin who is here at Brandeis with me and more family just fifteen minutes away. It is so exciting but also reassuring to know that I still have people close by if I need anything.


Being on the same side of the country as my family has also allowed me to travel easily on holidays.  The Jewish High Holidays have always been a very family oriented time for me. I have very fond and vivid memories of sitting with my sister in the synagogue and then watching her as she sang on the bimah.  It was so nice to still be able to be surrounded by family during a time that is so significant to me. My grandparents brought me to their synagogue and I went to services in the same place my dad and aunt had their b’nai mitzvah. I had sleepovers with both my cousins and got to hear about all the things happening in their lives, both monumental and trivial.  Both of these things never would have happened if I had stayed home.


(photo from Pixabay)


Having my big cousin here at Brandeis with me is yet another wonderful thing in my life.  In those first few weeks of college when I was still figuring everything out, running into her and her friends on campus would save my day.  My cousin who I saw maybe once a year for so long can now text me and we can be having dinner together 30 minutes later. Already she has given me invaluable advice about every aspect of life and I know that the years we spend together are forever going to change the already special relationship we have.  


I am by no means saying that I don’t miss my parents and sister, nor am I saying that this transition to college has been seamless but having family nearby has made it so much easier and I am so looking forward to the 4 years (and hopefully many more) that I will have close to them.

(photo from Pixabay)