One outfit, three locations:
Amherst College, MA
Hartford, CT; city outskirts
Hartford, CT; Connecticut State Capitol
Sweater, thrifted L.L. Bean ($3.90!!) | Skirt, thrifted Hollister | Boots, XOXO | Necklace, Macy's
First photo by Alura Chung-Mehdi, the rest by Dad
College: where seeing your parents, riding in a car, and eating quality food (aka Asian vegetables) are all luxuries.
I remember idealizing college. How it would be a break from the familiar, the abandonment of monotony, an adventure. And it is. But it's also a grueling challenge, an awkward separation, an uncomfortable transition.
A couple weeks ago, my dad flew in to see me for family weekend, which was beyond a blessing. But his visit confirmed just what I had feared: that home is no longer familiar. I now have to ask about everyday life--I'm no longer part of it. Are you and mom still grocery shopping on Saturdays? Do you still order out every now and then?
Technology makes it easy to stay in touch with friends and family, but staying in touch is inherently different from remaing a part of their immediate lives. Video calls cannot replace physical presence. There's only so much you can share and understand behind a computer screen--distance is a barrier to delving beyond the surface of our nuanced lives, beyond the everyday occurences.
Interestingly enough though, I feel closer to my family. It's easy to take parents and siblings for granted when you live at home, when they're always there. To be completely honest, I didn't get along well with my ten-year-old brother--bickering, criticism, sass, and sarcasm dominated our relationship. But last week, he said he wanted to mail me some of his Halloween candy. It was touching, considering that I could barely finagle a kit kat out of him last year. And via old-fashioned email and the weekly video call, I probably tell my parents more about current happenings than I did in high school.
It's a bit different with my friends--our worlds sometimes feel like separate spheres. It's unsettling. I miss having deep talks, adventuring, even experiencing the mundane with them. But the mark of true friendship is being able to walk different paths and still remain invested in one other. Letters, messages, and skype sessions may not be ideal, but they're nonetheless uplifting.
And in less than two weeks, I'll be home again. I wonder sometimes if I'll enjoy returning as much as I envision. I feel like nomad, oscillating between two places that are now equally unfamiliar. Feeling uncomfortable and lost, however, are regular symptoms of growing pains. And college is a challenge I strongly believe will be well worth it in the end.
Here's to exploring, searching, wandering, and learning.