Getting Away From Home
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What Getting Away From Home Has Taught Me

It was a tough decision to move over 2,000 miles away from my home, but it's also one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life

What Getting Away From Home Has Taught Me
Miki Kainuma

My freshman year is coming to a close. And everything was more than I ever imagined or wished it would be. I met amazing professors, many new friends, wonderful mentors, and I simply had the time of my life this first year. I did not think that everything would end up meaning so much to me. I knew that I wanted to leave California when I was applying for colleges, but I was not aware of how much of an impact this decision would have on me. I was quite sad knowing that I had to leave my home where I grew up for the first 18 years of my life, but I knew that getting out into the unknown was going to help me and open my eyes to new things.

Leaving was more emotional than I thought, I cried when my family had to leave me in Chicago and it took me a day or two to get adjusted to the idea of not having my family or anyone or anything that was familiar around me all the time. This adjustment didn't quite finish settling in, even right now, for me. But I've learned the importance of family, and how much I used to take them for granted. The cliche saying of how one only knows about the importance of something after it's been taken away from them, and I learned that this year getting away from home, family and the familiar.

I appreciate them more than ever and I have made more time and effort to find ways to tie me back to these factors of my life. I make time for phone calls with my family, I find Asian restaurants to satisfy my cravings, I watch Japanese variety shows to keep me familiar with my language and so many other things I've found have helped me appreciate and remind me of home. I would have never appreciated home, California, Asian culture, family and myself in this way if I hadn't moved away from home.

Through this year, I also learned about independence. Of course, back at home, I was pretty independent, but here, 2,000 miles away from home, I experienced a new type of independence. I made almost all decisions on my own: when I slept, what I did, when I ate breakfast, when I did laundry for an entire year. I relied on no one to do the cleaning, I relied on no one to tell me what to do. I was truly on my own in a city and I was able to have true freedom in my first year. It's not to say I did not make mistakes along the way, but I learned from each one and simply moved on.

At times, especially near the end of this academic year, I felt more and more homesick. But I believe that being homesick isn't a bad thing, it's just a simple reflex that humans have to be away from the familiar. So, I did have a bit of struggle being homesick and being in an entirely new city for the past nine months, but I'm really glad that I did end up coming here, away from home, and getting the experience that I did.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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