“Home is where your mum is” – Facebook status of a friend, haha. And a damn true one.
Mum and home-I miss when I am at MIT. Don’t get me wrong. Living in a dorm at MIT, surrounded by great, interesting people, is a lot of fun. I regularly cake people on their birthdays, start singing randomly in hallways, make impromptu trips to beaches at midnight, chug mocha frappuccinos while solving problem sets, organize DJ shows, try belly-dancing with roommate and end up in a laughing heap on the floor, and so on- You can guess, I get to try every craziness there is. Not to mention that, here researchers make magic happen every minute. So most of the time, I can successfully ignore that fact that, I live some 12,500 kilometers away from home, aka my mother. [Note to you, before coming to MIT, I have never lived away from my mum, and everything I did- I absolutely had to recount to her, with fine details.] The other times, when I fail to ignore this, I am homesick.
Last year, I was homesick when,
– I fell down the stairs and tore a leg muscle
– My laptop died
– I had to dig through a huge trashcan for my final lab report which I had mistaken as trash and got rid of the previous night
– I had no idea what was going on in my macroeconomics class
– Bangladesh was hosting the ICC World Cup and my facebook newsfeed was flooding with news of how great they were being as hosts
– I saw pictures of my friends home, celebrating ‘pohela boishakh’ (Bengali New Year)
– I had to eat not-so-good food and thought about all the deliciousness that my mother made
– And other random occasions
So yeah, homesickness never leaves; no matter however great MIT makes me feel. But I have a greater list- of things that keep me calm and anchored:
– My religion! – The faith that I am not alone, even when I see nobody around me.
– Friends, as crazy as I, if not more. Being hosed by MIT can get entertaining, when done with people. What friends do for me, you ask. They listen to me while I rant (DEENIIIIIIIII, I wuvv you!), they rant to me (Haha, ISHFAQ), they make strong Arab coffee for me when I need to stay awake (ASSMAAAAA!!! I wuvv you too!), they iron my clothes for Eid (ARFAAAA!!! I wuvv you three! and I have missed you last semester!), they make soup when I am sick and when I am not (FAREEHAAAAAA! I missed you too!), they dance with Pikachu songs to de-stress me the night before a horrible midterm ( A shout out for TALAL, who is roaming in the parks of France right now. Sorry Talal, you don’t get love you’s or miss you’s. 😛) and what not.
– Good books, good music (with lyrics that I can relate to/ with beats that I can make silly dance moves with), good words.
– Wonders of science…haha cliché! Well, MIT Biology is great, although the tests sometimes do feel like coming from some different planet.
– The feeling of achievement that comes when I successfully solve a problem after probing it for a good few hours, or pick up a small pathogen with a needle at lab after failing for a whole day, or accomplish ‘grown-up feats’ like fixing credit card problems.
– The first flakes of snow, a lazy rainy day (however rare that might be- the ‘lazy’ part, I mean), a hug from a beautiful baby, a smile from a complete stranger on the Mass Ave …
and this list will never end.
Homesickness is there and my way of taking care of it is skyping/ ooVoo-ing(ooVoo is definitely the better version, people!). But in the end, I am happy and grateful to the Almighty that two years ago I had decided to fly. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have learned this much, I wouldn’t have grown this much.
ps: A random discovery about myself: I love lists. 😀
ps # 2: My friend and to-be roommate, Deeni Fatiha, MIT ’13, has an expert comment on this issue: “I think sometime you also just need to acknowledge the fact that you are homesick and that some places will never be home and some cultures you will never understand and some people you will just not click with like you did with friends from back home. And sometimes even all the wonderful things you listed which we should all truly be thankful for, aren’t enough to fill the vacuum that is created by not being home or around family and childhood friends… and on days like those, you need to buy yourself a big tub of ice cream, curl up in bed, watch a sad movie and have a good cry, curse the world for being so rough and go to sleep. When you wake up, everything is a little more tolerable.”
– Haha, some days are like this too!