I come from a pretty big family and we’ve always been pretty close. As the first of my siblings to leave New York City for college, I was nervous about what this change would mean for that closeness. I’d be lying if I said it was easy to navigate this change because it’s actually been harder than any of us expected, although there is definitely a learning curve. I do believe it’s gotten easier as time has passed which makes every visit home all the more special. There’s a connection we can’t lose no matter how far we find ourselves from each other. Besides, I’m pretty close to home now considering I spent the past year studying abroad at two different places.
When I was first applying to colleges as a high school senior, I knew I wanted to study outside of New York City. Don’t get me wrong, I looooooooove the city and speak about Brooklyn almost every chance I get, so much that my best friend makes fun of me for it. I just knew I needed to be somewhere different, at least for a little while. Once I got into Tufts, my mom started talking about how far it was to home, but at least it was a bus ride away either of us could take if we missed each other too much. We did that for two years during my freshman and sophomore years until it was time to start my junior year where I would be studying abroad in two different places: Chile fall semester, followed by Hong Kong second semester. All of a sudden those short bus rides to each other became very long flights (and expensive ones at that)! I figured, I went through a similar change when I first left home for Tufts, how much harder could it be right? I had no idea what I was in for.
The change was entirely unique from what I had already experienced my freshman year. As an incoming freshman, I participated in the BLAST program which definitely helped ease my transition. I didn’t have a program like this where I was going. I knew homesickness well and had adapted strategies for how to handle this feeling. But have you ever felt friendsickness? Not only did I miss my momma and everyone at home in Brooklyn, but I also missed my friends and my established support systems at Tufts way more than I could have imagined. I found myself missing two places that were very different from each other yet still hold a big piece of my love, Brooklyn & Medford/Somerville. I navigated this by FaceTiming with family and friends when possible, but also learned how to be okay by myself in very far and new places.
Now I’m getting ready to graduate and thinking about where I’ll move after graduation. I’m keeping in mind that I now feel really connected to my host family in Chile as well as to Hong Kong. Having lived in each of these places already feels like so long ago and just yesterday all at once. What I’ve learned through these experiences is that my capacity to love is not limited to any location and the connections I’ve made along the way will sustain me for a very long time.