A few days ago, I met a childhood friend whom I haven’t had a real conversation with in at least a decade. When catching up, she mentioned about different ways she could remain in her country of residence after graduating from university. What she said struck me really hard: “There’s nothing for me back home.”
I’m not sure if it’s because I feel the same way or if it’s because I became a bit tired of being continuously questioned for the numerous visa applications I had to fill out this year (with questions that exhibit no level of trust, I might add) that I felt an instant connection with her statement. Because when you realize you don’t belong back home anymore because of 1) disparity in opportunities and aspirations, or 2) the values you adhere to are no longer compatible with those back home, or 3) it’s no longer safe for you to go back, or 4) you fell in love with other communities and other places… where is home? Where should you build your future? It’s a lot of uncertainty to deal with, although I’m sure we’re both sure of one thing: home is not where we are meant to be.
I would never have come to this thought just a few years ago. I realize that just after rewatching all three High School Musical movies tonight (anti-climatic much? Bear with me here), that it’s so easy for us to get caught up in a bubble and believe that the community we live in is everything. The characters in High School Musical certainly believed their current world is everything. Coach Bolton, for example, was a Wildcat champion, went to the University of Albuquerque, and then came back to East High to coach the same high school basketball team he grew up with. Gabriella did not want to go to Stanford and was considering to put it off for an extra year at Albuquerque. The people most aware about their bubbles are probably the Evans twins, and that’s also because they’re blessed with the privilege to be aware of the world that exists beyond theirs. This situation is not just limited to the High School Musical franchise. Don’t almost all shows exist within the same community and area throughout their entirety?
I never really wanted to write this opinion out because I was afraid of being viewed as pretentious and ungrateful. I admit that I am privileged to be exposed to this much and to form such thoughts. However, I’m feeling the constraints from propelling forward because I always yearn to go beyond my existing conditions. My friend analogized it as feeling like a whale in a small pond… See how this is starting to shape me as pretentious? Or maybe I’m just not navigating my existing world well enough to feel very lonely about this.
I was worried that this was not a common thought and hence wouldn’t be well received by whoever’s reading this, and that I’d feel even more alone than I did before. But maybe that’s why I write. Maybe it’s because I’m hoping that someone would be able to relate. Maybe if I put myself out there enough, I’d be able to connect with someone, somehow.
For now, it’s time to enjoy the transience of my exchange semester—an alternate universe I’d never be able to fully live in. But that’s a story for another time.
Blueaholic is listening to: MAMAMOO – NEW YORK
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