Moving to Rhode Island from Charleston, South Carolina was an adjustment, to say the least. In the weeks leading up to the big move, relatives and friends were asking me if I had enough warm clothes and enough of my belongings to last until the end of the school year. I was, after all, moving 14 hours away from home, so if I forgot something, it wasn't exactly a short ride to go back and get it. It was odd realizing that for the first time in my life I would be living under a different roof than my family members.
When I first got here, I wasn't able to FaceTime due to how hectic the first few days of school were. Between getting to know my professors, trying to figure out all the various online portals, and rereading syllabus after syllabus, I was a bit overwhelmed. It was a lot.
I finally got the opportunity to talk to my family after a few long days. I missed them and just the sound of their voice made me feel like I was back with them. I wasn't homesick, but I wasn't exactly fully comfortable here in Rhode Island yet either. Everything was so new, and they were really the only things that were familiar so far. I loved the newness of it all, but I was stuck in this weird headspace where I wanted to be with my family but I didn't want to leave school.
There I was, talking to my family for the first time since they'd dropped me off. They were all sitting in their homes, hours away from me in my dorm room. We FaceTimed almost every day that first week. Somehow, as this routine continued, they started to feel closer to me and less far away. Physically, multiple states separated me from my parents and little brother. But mentally, I felt closer to them somehow. It was strange. As weeks progressed, our FaceTiming became less frequent, but I found that when we did talk, it was for an hour or two, catching each other up on what we'd missed.
My brother is starting for my old high school football team. My mom started two new jobs. My dad drove to Michigan for my cousin's wedding. It is crazy. They're all there, living their life, and here I am, living mine. We are all still connected, even though I am so far from home.
FaceTime has become a two-to-three times a week thing. I get the scores of the local football game from my parents and videos of my little brother on the field. He sends me Snapchats every morning at 6:30 when he starts his day. My mom texts me funny things that happen to her and pictures of my dogs. My dad sends me selfies. Seeing their names on my phone is great, especially because I know that without them, I wouldn't be at a school like this. My family made me independent. They pushed me to go to the school of my dreams, even if it isn't close to them geographically.
I love it here. I have made more genuine friends than I thought possible. I have gotten involved with unique organizations that I am so passionate about. I have explored this state with new people and gone adventuring with my roommate. I am happy. And I get to have my family with me, every step of the way, even if they do live 14 hours away.