Collected Memories From Home

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Having extended family nearby that you can visit with can be a luxury that is often taken for granted. Whether it be in-laws, siblings, cousins, grandparents, or aunts and uncles, some sort of family is always there. In a different state or right around the corner, they are there. For me, the only real family of mine are my parents and siblings. I don’t have the luxury of being able to go to my grandparents for the weekend or chilling with the cousins. All of my immediate and extended family live halfway across the world and the only type of communication I have with them is over the phone. When the time has come to finally go back home to see my family after many years, the excitement is unbearable.

In the summer of 2015, my family and I went back to India after six years of not seeing our family. We were not only going to go for the vacation but mainly for a mission trip with our church. The travel was long and tiring but so worth it at the end. Our goal was to help produce clean and healthy water out of the dirty water the locals had been drinking this whole time. An opportunity of a lifetime for most of my church members, but for me, the trip was a miracle. We visited mine and my parents’ old school and greeted the little kids. My grandparents owned the school and it was pretty much in their backyard, sort of…long story.

Even though America is way better than India for a lot of different reasons, I would not mind going back to my home land every now and then. The environment is not the best but it has a familiarity to it and it is just a breath of fresh air for me. The roads are not paved as they are here. The roads are bumpy, rocky, dusty, and just all kinds of bad. When the red light is on or an officer is holding up the stop sign, that is the chance for people who are selling different types of items to knock on your windows and beg/sell whatever you want to call it. The items vary from different candies to fun-shaped balloons. Many just get annoyed and ignore them and others either pity or actually want something. Driving down the streets,  many will see families sleeping or chilling on the sidewalk sitting on a mat just like how we do the same, but in our own bedrooms or a living room.

I was only in 6th grade and could not have been more ecstatic to finally see my cousins. We made a promise to call whenever we had time, for the different holiday schedules and time difference made it difficult. We all would play such childish games and not act as if we were about to become teenagers. Who cared what we played? We’re only young once so why not make the most of it? I will never forget the food we ate, games we played, and places we went. Playing tag, rocks, marbles, etc. were all my favorite. Going to my grandfather’s orange farm was always so fun and exciting. We had picnics there and plucked so many juicy oranges. Eating home food again was so refreshing and I didn’t know how much I missed it until I took the first bite. The people would invite us to everything and held parties in our honor because it isn’t everyday when the chief’s family visits home from America:  a dream for everyone that I and everyone else who live here can carry out.

Certain smells remind me of home and when I went over there and smelled what I had been daydreaming about, it was awesome. The smells are difficult to explain but it makes my heart feel warm. All of the buildings were sculpted and built differently and were very unique. I visited a house where the steps were molded out of clay. Houses in India don’t have an oven or microwave. So the foods that we eat almost everyday are food they will probably never be able to try at all in their lives. “Stores” back home are just a small wooden shack filled with candy and chips and big enough for at the most two people. No store is big enough for anymore than ten people. Therefore, lines are always long outside of them for just a simple item.

Overall, I miss home and what it had to offer and I’m also saddened by those less fortunate. The food, family, games, traditions, etc. are something that can only be found in my ‘hometown’ in India. Everything we did was always memorable and will always be terribly missed whenever I leave. That year was the last time I had gone back home and it was heartbreaking at the airport because we all knew it would be many years until we visited again. The next time we are visiting is actually this coming winter! I am beyond excited and am counting down until that day. Not only will we finally experience Christmas at home with our family after almost eleven years, but I will also be celebrating my 16th birthday there as well! Everything I said in the earlier paragraphs isn’t even a quarter of what goes on back home and the experiences there to experience are so much more than the words typed here. Ask yourself this: could you handle being halfway across the world from your family for the rest of your life and only be able to visit every few years?

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