I recall being thirteen years old when I visited my oldest cousin in college. I couldn’t wait to hear stories about what crazy college life is like. In Portland, Connecticut, where very little changes and everyone is white and middle-class, the prospect of college was the golden opportunity to leave small-town life behind. However, I recall being shocked at how serious my cousin Jillian, a sophomore at Syracuse University, was about homesickness. At the time, I figured that girls were just more sensitive to that kind of stuff than guys.
Fast-forward to being seventeen and applying for colleges. Aiming for a degree in Theatre, I auditioned for four east coast schools that would keep me close to home and one out in the other worldly west – the University of Southern California. I had no intention of actually going to school in Los Angeles but figured that my application would give my family a good scare and give me a good fantasy to get through the last years of high school.
As luck would have it, USC offered me enough financial aid to make rejecting this school impossible. Life got real; I shipped out in August of 2008 to see what LA had to offer.
“You are what you eat.” This idiom is usually associated with health, meaning that eating unhealthy foods willmake you feel bad, and on the flip side, eating well will make you feel good. While googling this popular phrase,I found that a British television series about dieting adopted the name, and similarly, cookbooks and multiple diet plans make the statement as well. For me though, I tend to associate this phrase with something more than nutrition—something more personal.
Ever since I was young, I’ve had a great relationship with people who were older than me. I’ve always loved visiting my grandparents’ home, something that plenty of my peers despised. I’ll certainly never forget the time when my grandma whispered in my ear that I was her favorite grandchild and the feeling of guilty satisfaction and pride that welled in my heart. Later, when I moved to America in middle school, I was on texting basis with the majority of my teachers in each of the schools I attended.
During high school, I discovered my love for the nursing home. I found talking to and interacting with the residents naturally easy and comfortable, and it wasn’t long before I started traveling to the home twice a week to provide company to the senior citizens. Whenever I walked into the toasty nursing home, the residents’ faces melted into crooked smiles. I loved how they called me “Jackie Wacky” and “Honey,” how I always had to assure Audrey that I’ll always love, how Carol snuck me the centerpiece after I told her I loved flowers, and how Ken always asked for a kiss before I left.