Home Is Far Away

In the process of choosing a college, the one thing I knew for certain was that I didn't want to stay home.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like I didn’t like my home. In fact, I can’t imagine my future anywhere else. Inside my head, I had this overwhelming feeling that I needed something new in my life. For my whole life, I'd never done anything risky. This was the first thing I'd ever done that was remotely out of my comfort zone.

When I said I wanted to go out-of-state, there were two warnings that everyone advised me of: you’re going to get homesick and you’re going to feel alone. These thoughts troubled me and I started to question: could I really make it on my own? Nevertheless, the thought of all the good things that could happen outweighed the bad ones. So I left.Photo courtesy of pixabay.com

The first week of school came upon me. Freshman orientation went a bit slow, but nonetheless, everything was okay. Then came the day I had to say goodbye to my parents. That was probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Unlike students who live nearby, out-of-state students don’t have the luxury of seeing our families as often. Sometimes it gets difficult because we're so used to seeing these people almost every day, and now it’s been reduced down for 3 months out of the whole year. Yes, I do FaceTime them and text them regularly, but there’s still that physical barrier that separates us. Nothing can truly replace seeing someone in person. 

During the first 5 months, I was surprised that I didn't feel as homesick as I thought I would be. Of course, there were those times where I wished I could be lying in my own bed at home or petting my dogs, but I was handling things pretty well. As winter break approached, I could feel myself getting anxious to go home. In my head, I could just imagine myself eating all of my Grandma's homecooked meals and getting to see everyone again, but I still had a couple weeks to go before I could.  That final week before break was probably when I felt the most homesick.

When I went back for winter break, I remember it not feeling like home. I have two nephews and I was baffled at how big they had gotten in my absence. They were walking and talking all over the place. I visited places that I usually frequented and saw how much they had changed. My high school got a new football field and new stores were popping up everywhere. New family things. New neighborhood drama. New everything. I suddenly felt like a stranger in this place that I'd known my whole life.

After a week or so of winter break, I finally overcame that shock and everything was back to normal. It finally felt like home again, but then school was about to start, so I had to pick up and leave again.

The second major episode of homesickness came right after I left home. I had so much fun on winter break that I wished I had just a little more time to spend with my family and friends. Despite that, I eventually got back into the routine of school and restructured my mindset to focus on studying.

After that, everything was going well, until spring break. The other thing about coming from Hawaii, is that plane tickets are expensive. It was just inconvenient for me to drop that much money for only a week off. That week was when the third wave of homesickness washed over me. I was envious of people who got to go back home for break. They could pet their dogs that they miss and see their family, while I had to wait a couple more months. The truth is no matter how many times you see someone, if you're apart for a while, you'll still miss them. Gif courtesy of giphy.com

Sometimes I wonder if it was the right decision to leave home. I wonder whether it was worth not being able to eat my favorite food on demand or to be able to pet my dogs when I want to. Is it justifiable to acquire this financial burden, when living at home would be cheaper? Was it worth not being able to see my family while the place I know and love continues to grow without me?  Honestly, right now, I'm not sure.

This is a question that has yet to be answered, but as I look back, the experience of living in another state is worthwhile. I feel like in the past 8 months, I've learned things about myself that I would not have discovered if I had stayed back home. I've learned how to take care of problems without my parent's wisdom, and, in turn, began to trust myself more. Despite the hardships, these past 8 months has helped me move towards the final draft of who I want to become, and for that, I couldn’t be happier.