Home and Away

by Jolyn Low


This is basically what it feels like to be away.

I have always idealised what it would be like to study abroad. When I was younger, I was especially disillusioned, dreaming of studying in the USA or the UK. I have achieved that to a certain extent – I am studying veterinary science in Australia, after all. And after I’ve been back for that one month, I do feel like everything has changed. Once important social circles have crumbled, and group dynamics have shifted so much that I felt like I didn’t belong in that local narrative anymore. Life abroad isn’t as rosy as it seems sometimes, especially when things come to bite you in the ass.

I love the freedom of being able to do what I want, whenever I want. Want to pull a study session in the library till midnight? Sure, just have fun shivering on your walk back and being wary of strangers that cross your path. Want food? Make it. I am satisfied that I am independent enough to survive on my own. I love spending time outdoors, going on walks and living an overall much healthier life. I like meeting new people, drinking cheap wine and trying new things. But it is starting from ground zero, building a new home that needs to be able to shelter and withstand the hardship that would be faced. And here, I have no buffer zone.

On the other hand, my family is back in Singapore. I am not one to bawl my eyes out at the thought of leaving home, but nothing beats coming home to dinner cooked with a mother’s love, or knowing that no matter what, there is someone here that would be here for you. Living in Singapore isn’t that bad at all, and I can see why every single time. I do miss home dearly, and I wonder how my perception of it would change yet again.