Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Sleepover Syndrome

When I was a little kid, sleepovers were just as fun for me as they were for the next kid, but they also came at a price. They kind of terrified me. I have these horrible childhood memories (I wish they were nightmares, as in, not real. But they really did happen...cringe) of me waking up at my friend's house in the middle night in tears, waking up the entire household and having the parents call my parents to come pick me up and take me home because I missed them.  On more than one occasion ..I mean, JEEZ, right? Like, who is that kid?! Yeah, even I wouldn't want to be friends with me.

Fast forward to now, and thank god I've ( somewhat? ) normalized and managed to retain and make friends. But as I spend my last night at home, I'm slightly reminded of those sleepover trauma days because I didn't realize until today, but this is another kind of "first" time leaving home. Initially it didn't occur to me, because I'm pretty well travelled. I left for college. My parents left my side of the coast for the East. I'm practically a gold-level frequent flyer member. Studying in Europe is different though. There is no anchor of spring break or summer break to tether me back to home. And with summer plans as of now leaning towards Beijing, after my semester abroad I would go straight to Asia.

Maybe it is because I grew up as a sheltered only child. But every time I take another step away from home, there is always a reminiscent twinge in my gut from the five year old who just wants to spend the night with her parents. It happened when I spent my first week away from home during 6th grade camp. And when my parents bid me farewell for college we were all in tears. With each time though, the twinge lessens. By now it is a small nudge at most, that I know will disappear the moment my plane lands in Europe. It's just that initial pause right before the big drop that catches me.

I'm not trying to say I won't miss my parents, because I know I will. I am not as afraid anymore.

Still, there is something about leaving behind family and comfort that checks the enthusiasm of going to Europe just slightly. It's a good kind of check though, even if it makes me out to be a big fat baby no one would want to be friends with.

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