15 Things You Experience When You Live Away from Home

As an international student, I don’t get to see my family as much as I would like to during the school year. After all, nothing cheers you up as much as the hot food that your mom makes for you after that long day of classes and dealing with people. But you have to do certain things when you become an adult, and that sometimes means letting go of the comfort of home to deal with the world.  

I put on a brave face whenever I leave home but I know that I am going to miss my parents and my annoying little brother as soon as I turn around after saying goodbye.

The perk of living alone, however, is that every day becomes a new experience and you learn things which you cannot learn if you live with your parents. Here are some of the things I learned about living alone.

1. No curfews. You decide when you go to bed and when you get up, sometimes missing those early morning classes—which is when you realize why your parents had a set bedtime for you.

2. You eat junk food to your heart's content. But then you miss your mum when you get sick because of that.

3. You learn to organize your work efficiently and start procrastinating less and less as you reach graduation. You can easily make a neatly organized schedule for the next four months. However, your room becomes the polar opposite of neat, since there is no one to tell you to clean it up.

4. You can go out with friends any night of the week from dollar beer Mondays to throwback Thursdays. Then, you feel hungover and gross the next day and do it again the next week because it is worth it.

5. You get compliments from people telling you how brave you are living alone. But, and this is my personal experience, you don’t feel so brave because you are always, always missing your family and would give anything to have them there with you.

6. “Well, at least you have your uncle/aunt/cousin to visit. That’s good right?” is the one thing you get tired of hearing because being with your uncle/aunt/cousin just makes you miss your parents much more. But, it gets too complicated to explain so you just end up answering with a half-hearted, “Yeah.”

7. You miss your mom the most when you have to cook dinner after you missed almost all meals of the day. And not just because of her cooking, but because you know it would be so much easier to cook if she was just sitting there and talking to you.

8. You get to make all the decisions about yourself, by yourself and you get happy when you do little stuff on your own like writing a cheque or doing groceries and laundry, or sometimes even just showering every day.

9. Your acceptable standard of food falls down because you have to rely on your own cooking. P.S. give yourself credit even if you just cooked a prepared meal in a pot instead of ordering in—baby steps need to be appreciated before you can play in the big leagues.

10. Every day becomes a new adventure for you because you have absolutely zero ideas what you might end up facing that day.

11. You see your friends as an extended family because you spend so much time with them. That is also how you get a group’s mom and dad. Your friends make you miss your parents a little less in everyday life.

12. Even though you learn not to procrastinate, it always happens once in a while and when it does you get the full freedom to live through it as you please. Not showering for three days, eating cold food or microwaving KD after KD, and cursing out loud for being an idiot and letting that assignment sit until the last day. At the same time, you get no judgment from the people around you because they are probably in the same boat as you.

13. You reward yourself after submitting an assignment at the last minute with a hot shower, good pizza, a 12-hour nap and a promise to never procrastinate again (however, failing at the last one).

14. You can get McDonald’s at whenever you feel like while reminiscing on all the times your parents said no because there was food at home—and then missing them instantly because of it.

15. Just talking to your parents can make you feel a hundred times better, so you wait for that time of the day when you are free enough to talk to them to your heart’s content. Most of the time you just talk about trivial stuff like upcoming movies or what happened at the office between your dad and his boss. This not only makes your entire day, but it also becomes the best part of your day.

These are some of the things that happen to me while living away from home. Write to me with your experiences of being away from your family!

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