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BERKELEY'S NEWS • JANUARY 17, 2023

Year! Review! Read our 2022 Year in Retrospect Issue!

Homesickness's bittersweet nature

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AIMEE HAN | STAFF

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Staff

OCTOBER 19, 2022

I skipped a party to write this. I’ve passed up another wonderful opportunity to “loosen up” and have “fun” because I’m stuck in this stupid, torturous place of in-between. In-between homes, in-between identities, in-between friends, in-between everything and nothing at all. 

Every time I talk to someone from home, I just want to curl up into a ball and sob. The sound of their voice transports me to a bittersweet melancholic state of mind where I feel present alongside their comforting presence. But when the call ends reality slips back over me, reminding me that I’m hundreds of miles away from home. It’s in those moments when I long to hear the waves of my hometown beach, the laughs of my closest friends and the savory taste of french-fry-filled California burritos. 

All those people, places, things and opportunities I left behind to come here — now seemingly out of my reach — make me feel like a lost package in the mail. Ruminations of what could’ve been — alternative ways in which my life could’ve played out — entangle me in shackling chains, holding me back from reaching my full potential. I feel stuck at a crossroads of “in-between” feelings. 

I even miss the comfort of bundling up in my childhood sheets underneath the whimsical ornamentation of my fairy lights. I miss being naive and unable to comprehend the gravity of current events. I miss home-cooked meals. The list goes on and on. Thinking about all the things I miss leaves me in a full state of paralyzed melancholy. 

There are, however, certain moments of this “in-between” state when my heartstrings agreeably entangle themselves with another’s — not in a way that leaves me feeling stuck — but in a way that signals growth. It’s when I feel at ease locking eyes with my roommates across the room as we giggle about the same silly little things that I feel myself beginning to open up to change. When I see a concert above the theater, feeling euphoric underneath the spotlight’s glow, I begin to feel more at ease. When I witness two pairs of intertwined hearts fall for each other, I begin to feel more hopeful. When I rest my head on my hometown best friend’s shoulder and rave about my irrational excitement for growing old together, I feel part of “home” is alive within.

In the midst of my first year at UC Berkeley, I sometimes wonder about all the different routes my life could’ve taken. I’m undeniably homesick, feeling stuck at this crossroads of “in-between.” Yet there is something so wonderful, so bittersweet about being homesick. It allows me to come to terms with the fact that I’m in the process of finding a new home, yet “home” forever remains part of me.

Contact Aimee Han at 

LAST UPDATED

OCTOBER 19, 2022