Home is where I hang my hat – and maybe it’s the fact that my hats have found perches in various corners of my new bedroom, but I have never felt like an alien in 119 Light Hall. I am greeted by familiar things; my roommate’s lacrosse stick; our microfridge deluged by various teas and cups; post-it notes, pictures, letters from my friends, all rustling gently on the walls and cork boards. I’m home.
White noise from the fans, the click of the door as it closes behind me, I walk over to my desk and drop my bag on the ground, kick off my shoes and slip into my chair at the desk that’s already cluttered with textbooks and coupons. The effortlessness of settling into my room goes unnoticed. It feels like I’ve been here years, when it’s only been ten days.
Such little time and I’ve made myself a home away from home. I love every inch of this campus, even the mildly shady parking lot I have to cross through when I make my way back from my friends’ dorm at night. The familiarity is like muscle memory: the ease with which a pianist’s fingers flow over the black and white keys – a familiarity that was so decidedly nonexistent when I first moved to Dubai 6 years ago. Boston – Northeastern – is a different ballgame.
I iterate this over and over, I realize, but it’s incredible how much this city – and this campus – feels like Lahore for me. These friends I’ve made for myself may as well be childhood companions for how familiar they are to me; but at the same time, I realize there’s so much about my friends, about this campus, and about this city I don’t know, and that’s exhilarating. That novelty keeps me excited; with every revelation, i sink deeper and deeper in love with my new life – and the knowledge that I nonetheless have a life for me back home in Dubai, waiting until December or the summer to welcome me back, makes none of this bitter. There is no bite to this resounding sweetness; just pure contentment.
In a way, I feel guilty for not missing home as much as I feel I should; but then, isn’t that better than being upset over distance? I’m where I’ve wanted to be for three years, and it is above and beyond all I expected of it.
I am in love with life right now, Alhamdulillah.