August is just around the bend. To all the students at my university, that means one thing. Semester’s about to start. And so begins the madness. Freshies are pouring in, ragging (oops, “orientation”) is on in full swing and for older students like me, the “moving back into hostel from wherever we’ve been lazing the past few months” ritual has begun.
I moved into my new hostel (my new “home”) a few days ago, and for the first time since I got on a flight and settled down in my hostel here at university two years ago, I felt like I was leaving home. I realize now that it’s a combination of things, prime amongst which are leaving PGP, my home away from home for two years now, and on a smaller scale, leaving my brother’s place in the east (far, far away from my hostel in the west), where I’ve been torturing him and my sis-in-law for the past three months.
I’d been prepared to miss PGP ever since my application to stay in the new hostel got accepted, but I hadn’t realized I’d miss my temporary three-month home so much. It hit me fully yesterday, when, on my way to taking a bus from Harbour Front MRT back to my hostel, I happily and obliviously made my way to the bus stop on the side of the road going towards the east. I even hurriedly flagged down the bus that had almost left the stop and got in. And as soon as I’d tapped my card, it hit me that I was heading the wrong way. I got off a couple of stops later and crossed the road to take the bus from a lonely stop on the right side, but by then I was thoroughly depressed. Three months had been enough to change my routine completely – what was I gonna do without all those things I’d taken for granted recently?
A day, I’m still slightly depressed. I’m gonna miss so many things about that place. I’m gonna miss being able to come home from lab and rattling off the day’s events to my sis-in-law. I’m gonna miss having hot, yum veggie soup made for me any time I want. I’m gonna miss being able to have dinner accompanied by old seasons of Friends. I’m gonna miss washing dishes with my brother while having lengthy conversations about the muck in the sink. I’m gonna miss the swimming pool. I’m gonna miss the gym (and that, coming from me, is something!).
My bus rides! How can I forget? I’m gonna miss the long one-and-a-half hour bus rides to and from the university, during which I realized how empty my life would be without my mp3 player. I’m never again gonna be able to watch Prime Time Morning, the news programme that comes on TV Mobile (the bus channel) everyday in the morning. (To be honest, I never listened to the news, seeing as how I was always wearing my earphones, but I’m gonna miss that adorably cute young couple who did most of the newscasting.) I’m gonna miss those random Chinese soap opera serials (with subtitles, of course) that I watched on the bus those few times my mp3 player’s batteries ran out. I’m gonna miss getting onto the top deck of the double-decker buses early each morning and being greeted by a host of school kids, all sleeping in various positions and angles. I’m gonna miss the amusement that comes from watching men and women in smart, crisp business suits fall asleep on long journeys with their mouth open and earphones plugged in their ears. Oh, the bus rides. I’m gonna miss so many things.
Looking back now, I think I was one of the first few people in university to start calling my hostel room “home”. I was ecstatic to be living on my own, out of the supervision of parents/older siblings, but somewhere deep down, I must’ve felt the loneliness, because for the first time yesterday, I realized that home is where the heart is. Home, is where the family is.
I miss you guys. 😦