My family means more to me than anything else in this world. I was raised in a very family oriented environment. Before I moved here, the longest I’d ever been away from my parents was 4 weeks. Now, it’s longer than 4 months! Right after family, come my friends. Over the years I’ve had many friends come and go, so I’m used to them being far away from me, but my family not so much.
Living on a small island like St. Maarten, it’s common for people to only stay for a year or two and then move away. Saying goodbye to friends and family has always been hard for me, but the best thing to do is think of it as more of a “see you soon” and not as a “goodbye” because it feels less permanent that way.
Even though I know it will only be a few months until we’ll be reunited, I can’t help but cry when saying any kind of goodbyes.
Don’t ask me why, but I ALWAYS cry… especially in airports. I am the biggest crybaby in airports, and I’m not ashamed to admit that. I even keep a stash of tissues in my bag for the ride home. It can get pretty bad, especially with my family. When I moved here last year and had to say goodbye to my parents for the first time, I couldn’t move after they had gone. I must’ve been standing at the customs gate for about 10 minutes, just bawling my eyes out before someone came up and asked me if I was okay and woke me from my crying-coma.
Thankfully, I’m fortunate enough to be able to go home and see my family and friends for all major holidays, but on top of that, I managed to find a new family here in Mississauga. When I say that I “found a family” I don’t mean that I found some random family and just joined them, or that I started my own family, but that the people I’ve met here have become so important in my life that I consider them to be family.
I feel like without the love and support I got from my new friends and roommates I wouldn’t have been able to survive this move. I can’t stress enough how important it is to find people who will be there for you through thick and thin, especially if you’re an international student. You might think that you’ll be fine, and hey maybe you’re a lot stronger than I am and you will be, but if you’re anything like me, I’m telling you… create your own little family of friends.
Keeping in contact with everyone back home has proven to be extremely difficult at times, but thankfully Skype and I have become great friends, in the sense that I use it regularly and it allows me to see the faces of the people I love and miss oh so much! The only problem with Skype is that it’s really time consuming, and as a student it sometimes feels impossible to make time. You might be wondering how I make it work, and I’m going to tell you right now, that I don’t. I am the worst at keeping in touch with my family, to a point where my mom sends me messages like this on a regular basis:
Aside from Skype and Facebook, there’s Whatsapp. Ahhhh Whatsapp, how I love thee! Surprisingly, from the people I’ve met, Whatsapp isn’t too popular here in Ontario, but if you’re an international student, or have friends all over the world like me, then you know just how amazing this app is. It’s basically the same as any text messaging system, the only difference being it runs off of Wi-Fi or data, oh, and you can message people all over the world for FREE. Yeah, that’s right, I can message my aunt all the way in Australia free of charge, whenever I want.
Keeping in touch with everyone is hard and all, but for me the hardest part about being away from home, is just knowing that I can’t physically see them. It’s a scary feeling not waking up to the sound of your parents getting ready for work, or hearing your dogs bark.
You don’t realize just how much the little things affect you, and how naturalized you’ve become to them being apart of your daily routine until you leave and no longer have them. It’s a cliché, but it’s too true. I’ve learned that they easiest way to stay strong, is to go with the flow. Don’t spend all your time thinking about the future, how long it’s going to be until you go home, or how much you miss everyone back home.
Just take it day by day, find people that make you happy, and keep yourself busy.