On May 14th last summer, I was enjoying a casual layover at Istanbul Airport and my brief immersion into Turkish culture, when I suddenly started to wonder where exactly I was going. Technically speaking, I was going back home. But where counts as “home”?
I grew up in a traditional Chinese family in Hubei, with loving and bubbly parents and, more importantly, a cute younger sister, which makes a lot of my peers jealous. I love my family deeply, but I never felt compelled to stay in Hubei forever, even though it’s common in China to stay with your parents until your 20s or even 30s.
This is probably why I insisted on going to a university in Beijing after graduating from my high school, even though my parents kept asking, “Won’t you miss home?” “Not really,” was my response – I believed that there was going to be a new “home” in that new environment.
Unsurprisingly, my parents asked the question—“Won’t you miss home?”— again, after I decided to transfer to University of Virginia. Even though overcoming language barriers and making friends with native English speakers remain challenges for me, and I was very clear about the fact that adjusting to life abroad takes longer, that wasn’t going to prevent me from exploring a new life and education.