This summer, for the first time ever, I am spending two months away from my family. Away from my home, away from my friends, away from my church, away from everything I know and love so dearly.
Currently, I am 857 miles away from my home—a 13-hour-and-one-minute drive. And it feels...weird.
I don't feel super lonely as I'm here with my boyfriend and staying with his wonderful family, who is gracious enough to host me for two months (thank you, by the way—I really have no words to express how grateful I am). But I do feel ever so slightly lonely, like maybe I'm missing things back home. For instance, one of my closest friends, who I've known for almost seven years now, is due to have her first baby in June. Her baby shower is at the end of this month, and I'm going to miss both the shower and the birth itself. And I feel a little sad about that. Another thing I'm missing is two of my other dear friends' high school graduation. I am going to have to miss being there and celebrating with them. I have several cousins who are graduating as well. Also, one of my friends just got engaged and asked me to be a bridesmaid, and I'm not going to be able to be there for her to help plan anything for a while as I wish I could do. So, being away from home this summer feels bittersweet.
I've been away from home during the summer before, but it's always been in the context of me being at camp in the Adirondacks or staying with family on Long Island. But I guess being so far away right now without my family is preparing me for what life is going to be like in two years when I graduate. However, it still feels strange (as change always does at first).
Of course, I love my boyfriend and his family so much. They have been so incredibly welcoming of me, even joking about me becoming their "child" for the summer. And I am so, so thankful to have that relationship with them. However, being away from my real parents is a little bit sad.
I didn't just pass up a summer at home for no reason, though—I have a good job down here. My boyfriend and I both have paid internships at a children's home where he will be in charge of the videography for events, and I will do the photography. This is right up both of our alleys since we are cinematic arts majors and enjoy creating videos and photographs. I'm also in the process of getting a second job as a waitress, which is good for me since I have extensive restaurant experience and am familiar with food service environments.
I've only been here for a little over a week, but it's starting to feel somewhat like home. I'm friends with nearly all of Anders's friends, and his church has been very welcoming of me. In fact, I might even be able to help out with the music ministry at VBS this summer. So things are looking up for me fitting into this small, tight-knit community.
Overall, I don't think I will regret spending this time away from home. After all, it isn't even the entire summer—just until mid-July. Then I will have almost an entire month to spend with my friends and family from home.
Besides, when you're a college student, "home" is kind of an ambiguous term. Your dorm room doesn't feel like home, but when you come back for the summer or for breaks, it doesn't quite feel the same either. Being in college, you kind of have to adapt and make your home wherever you are at the moment. Right now, I'm learning to make my home in Abbeville, South Carolina.
And so far, I think I like it.