I’ll Never Forget the First Time I Left Home

meredith zhang international student voice magazine
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For many international students, coming to study in the United States is the first time they leave home. Meredith shared what her experience was like leaving home for the first time.

I never forget the first time I left home. On my final day at home, I just woke up when my mom walked in the living room. In fact, I did not sleep well my last night. I got up, washed my face and brushed my teeth, and then checked that if I forgot anything. My sister and brother helped me put my luggage into the car. I just sat on the chair and did not know what I should do. After a bit, my brother-in-law told me we should go. I stood up and walked toward the outside. When I passed the room where my grandmother and I lived, I looked at my grandmother, who was still sleeping. She is the person I did want to leave the most, because we lived together since I was a child. In other words, she raised me up. She was 90 years old now, and she has dementia, so she did not even know I would leave for a long time. I felt so sad about that. When I was almost on the verge of tears. I just went on. I did not dare to keep looking at her.

My mom, my sister, my brother-in-law, and my brother would see me off at the airport, but my father would not go with us. I did not know why. When we were on the way to the airport, I just looked outside without saying anything. I was afraid I would cry in front of my family. But finally, I could not control myself…I cried. My mom cried too. When we arrived at the airport, my mood was okay and I had also stopped crying.

I found my friend at the airport, Jessica, who would go to the same college with me. Her family was also there. It was my first time ever going to the airport, so I did not know what I should do. I just followed Jessica. After we checked our baggage, we moved to the security check. Jessica said: ”Let’s go there.” I was confused and asked her if my parents would go with us. She said no. At that moment, I felt shocked and cried again. I did not even hold that–I just cried out loud. My mom and sister asked me stop crying, comforted me while wiping my tears away silently. Finally we said goodbye to each other, and I went into the security check.

Meredith Zhang

The Ohio State University

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