Moving over 1,200 miles away from my family took a toll on me. The hardest thing to sacrifice were the traditions that we shared.
My parents typically wake up early on the weekends. They make coffee and lie in bed and talk about work, life, what not. I get up around 9, hearing them speak. The smell of coffee enters my room and quickly gets me out of bed. I typically make myself a cup of coffee and then go to their bedroom and lie on their bed with them, joining the conversation.
We would hang out like that for so long. With the windows open, the morning sun would stream in, making all of us feel refreshed and happy. Then we’d make breakfast around 11 and enjoy time together.
This happened every weekend, without fail.
And it has to be one of the things that continues to make me feel homesick almost every weekend.
I was a little worried when I started college because I knew I would fly a lot, and I have a minor fear of heights. It isn’t so much looking down and seeing how high up I am, but more so acknowledging and really thinking about high up I am—especially when there’s turbulence. Most of us get that feeling when the cabin drops a bit in the air, and we feel as if our stomachs rise up to our throats, seeking freedom from our own bodies.
Regardless, flying home is the quickest way to get to my family.
I hear about kids who willingly stay at school for Thanksgiving and spring break. I just don’t get it. If you get the chance to go home to spend time with your family, why wouldn’t you?
I go home whenever I have a long weekend of four days or more. I figure out a way to pay the flight, and I make it happen. My family is the most important thing to me, and every once in a while I need reminding of why I’m doing this.
It feels incredible entering the airport and heading towards my gate when I’m heading home. I start to think about the specific types of food that I’ll eat once I get there. And I can’t forget about the traditional weekend mornings with my parents again, even if it’s only for one weekend.
There’s this excitement that bubbles up inside me as the plane is on the runway, about to take off. I put my music on and read something on my phone while chewing on some gum so it can help alleviate the pressure on my ears from the altitude.
I look at the time on my phone once we take off and count the hours and minutes until I hear the captain announcing our initial descent.
However, that’s not the case on my flight back to Boston, where I go to college. I say goodbye to my family and look at them longingly as I hand the TSA officer my ID and boarding pass. My hand continuously waves at my parents and niece until I can’t see them anymore.
Slowly dragging my feet, I walk towards my gate. I begin to think about all the homework and assignments that need to get done once I get back to my dorm room. I climb into the cabin of the plane and settle in. Glancing around, I wonder if other passengers are going home or starting their own vacation.
A pit in my stomach emerges as the plane increases speed down the runway towards school and my responsibilities.
It typically takes around three to four days for my mind to get back into the rhythm of my school and work routine.
Going home and visiting friends and family reminds me why I made the decision in attending an institution so far away from home. It may mess with my rhythm, but it’s completely worth it once I create more memories with my family that I can take back with me and pull to the forefront of my mind whenever I’m homesick.
Flying is the quickest way to get home and even though it does scare me at times, I just remind myself that my parents are waiting for me on the other side with their arms wide open.