Learning to grow through homesick-ness

This past week, I have been deeply stuck in homesickness. The last month of my program is an internship phase, which has moved me away from my friends, homestay and program staff to an entirely new community and city.

I know I am tough, I know I am being proactive and I know I can make it through these next three weeks with grace, but there have been moments every day where that seems too high of a reach. One day at a time, one hour at a time and step after step. In a recent call with my dad, he told me that sometimes you just have to take the day at the rate you can handle it.

Yet it is so hard to swallow an hour that feels like a week. The big waves of emotion leave me sad, lonely and with a heartache so strong I feel sick. However, anchoring to my Dad’s words, I have found a way to make it through. I finished a week and have things to look up to in the next. There have been moments of laughter and lightness strung throughout. There have been new friends made and many lessons learned. There has been growth. One day, one hour, one step at a time.

I have found security in a place I often choose to turn away from: vulnerability. My long-time philosophy was that I had a few people that saw the tears and the mess. To everyone else, I would hold tightly onto optimism and try my best. With the utmost gratitude to those whom I rely on, I am starting to see that vulnerability only adds fullness to life. So I have uncovered the screen, letting my ugly and my mess out for all. I have cried hysterically to brand new friends and been honest with the support I need.

The pain has been sharp and bold, but I already see things growing through the cracks. One day, one hour and one step at a time, I know I can choose to live fully and grow a garden with these waves.

Sophia Vander Kooy ('20) is a political science and international studies major with an unofficial passion for taking creative writing classes. She was the Production Manager at the Anchor during the spring semester of 2020, and previously served as the Editor-in-Chief. She is also a member of the Women's Track and Cross Country teams at Hope, the STEP Community Outreach Student Director and the Co-President of Hope Yoga. Sophia loves writing, being outside, cooking, running and connecting with all kinds of people. She has found the space to be herself at The Anchor and knows that she is not alone in that.

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