Why Being Away from Home Makes Me Appreciate Home More

I remember when I was younger, mainly in middle school and high school, I used to find different kinds of excuses to get out of the house, whether it’s hanging out with a friend or studying with classmates. During times when I wasn't allowed to leave the house, I would lock myself in my bedroom and put the Billboard Hot 100 playlist on blast so I couldn’t hear the rest of the world. Like most teenagers, I had little clashes and conflicts with my parents and the idea of spending family time together seemed annoying to me then. I’ve always considered myself pretty independent, so the idea of living away from home and exploring new territories by my own seemed like what I wanted most in life. Like all rebellious teenage girls, I guess all I wanted was to be in charge of my own life and do things on my own term, a lot like the protagonists in some coming-of-age movie. Of course, thinking back, all these sound really melodramatic. 

Flash forward to junior year of high school, my parents decided to transfer me to a boarding school on the east coast. I was more than happy to pack and leave the town I’ve spent my whole life in because seeing the same people and going through the same routine every day was slowly draining me. I thought this would finally be the perfect chance for me to live the life I want for myself. Freedom, independence and a chance to start over were right around the corner and I could already taste it. Spoiler alert, it wasn’t the dream-come-true moment I wanted it to be. 

When you’re at home, You don’t think twice about grabbing food from the fridge or turning on the TV. You also don’t think about when’s the best time to do laundry or what you’re going to have for dinner. At home, you’ve got everything, it’s not until those things are gone that you begin to realize how much you took them for granted. And most importantly, how much you took your family for granted. I was excited to leave home and finally have a chance to explore the rest of the world. But along the way, I forgot what’s most important in life and that’s the people who have stood by you since day one. I don’t think twice about grabbing something from the fridge because there’s always leftover lasagna my mom saved for me in there. I don’t think twice about turning on the TV because my dad would always be there to watch our favorite reality show together. It’s these little things that make me realize the impact my family has on my daily life. In boarding school, even though I had the freedom I craved for the longest time and the opportunity to discover myself, I missed the late night talks with my sister, the family movie nights, the hot breakfast in the morning, and the support system I had. Being away, I think I’m able to analyze things I love from a distant perspective and that made me realize how much I appreciate home. Despite being far away, your family is always going to give you 100% of their support in whatever way they can. 

Now that I’m in college and is beginning to step into adulthood, I am thankful for the experiences I had in boarding school because I was able to find myself and learn to be independent. But most importantly, spending time away from home, I learned how much I love and appreciate home, and that home is not about the place but the people. 

Image via Christine Wang ​