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  • Ruchita Kulkarni

Dear International Student

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

Dear International Student,

Today, I woke up engulfed by the warmth of my cozy blanket, yet I was alarmed by the sound of silence. I was expecting to be at home, amidst the sounds of my sister typing something on her phone or my mother’s presence on the balcony, watering her beloved plants. I woke up to an empty room and felt a familiar friend crawl up my skin: homesickness. The words, You aren’t home, kept ringing in my head, repeatedly, like an alarm that just wouldn’t go off.

Today was an important day for me. I had to go to the hospital to get a chest X-Ray done for a lingering cough that wouldn’t leave me alone. My doctors in India would know me by my name, and more so, by my mother’s annoying questions. They would roll their eyes with annoyance as the hypocrite in her continued to pester them with her questions. Meanwhile, I would sit comfortably in my chair eyeing the candy jar on the doctor’s desk.

Flash forward to the present. Here I was, alone, at the hospital. A nurse instructed me to follow her toward the imaging center and within twenty minutes, I got my X-Ray done. I left towards the waiting room to find a place full of warmth; families everywhere brimming with love and affection.

These were people, just like me. Grandpas with grey hair and checked T-Shirts came in with their daughters, looking up at them with a hint of fear hidden deep in their eyes. Everyone needs to hear that it will be okay, no matter how old you get.

With a heavy heart, I left the hospital to be greeted by a friend who got me lunch. Soon enough, I realized that love can only be parceled no matter where you are. You find it in pockets and places where you would never expect it to be there. And sometimes, that’s enough to make a difficult day bearable.

So, from a friend to a friend, here’s a quick reminder for your day: that no matter where you are, and what you’re doing: it’s going to be okay. I hope this letter finds you well and brings you the same warmth that family does in tough times. I can only say this from experience, and I come bearing gifts. Here is your packet of love for the day. I hope you use it well.

Love, Ruchita


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