JOANNA DIMAS- For the past few weeks, I was not able to speak to my family. Unfortunately, my little brother had surgery and my parents were constantly at the hospital. On top of the nine-hour time difference between Madrid and California, this circumstance made it even more difficult for me to catch up with my family.
I guess I had not realized, but that took a small toll on me. Whether I was at Tufts or away from my family for a while, I would usually FaceTime them. For me, it is reassuring knowing my family is doing well and in general, I just love hearing all the chismes going on in my family and hometown. But more importantly, I love talking with my family because I am able to tell them my experiences, my concerns, and my fears. They really are the only ones I can be myself with and I am able to truly tell them what is on my mind.
Sometimes, it can be hard being honest with everyone all the time. And that is something that I am constantly struggling with while being abroad. But thankfully, I have a host mom who is extremely understanding and honest with me as well. Although it is not always easy explaining things to my host mom, for the most part she understands where I am coming from when I tell her about my experiences. Being able to talk to her about my siblings, my major, my family’s immigrant story, and my encounters with racism, really speaks to how open my host mom is.
She always seems to appreciate what I am saying and she never makes me feel bad for saying what is on my mind. Not only can I talk to her, but also knowing that she trusts me is reassuring. I am able to cook, do my own laundry, shower when need be and do simple day to day tasks as if I were living at home or on my own at Tufts. When I lost my cellphone, she helped me replace it. When I got sick, she told me what medicine to buy. Overall, my host mom and my new home are amazing. Even though my host mom is a little older, she is still very open to discussing controversial topics. She has a very optimistic view about society and the world in general, and sometimes that is nice to hear.
Being in Madrid, I obviously miss my parents, but I have not felt lonely or sad not seeing them, and a big reason for that is my host mom. She is not my biological family, but she has grown to be very important to me. She has become my home away from home. My host mom has become the person in my life who makes me comfortable enough to say what is on my mind, and she is also the person who lets me have my space when needed. I really appreciate that balance!! So far all is good, and I am sure I will have many more insightful conversations with my host mom.