Two weeks ago, I called my mom when I flew back up to Berkeley to tell her I was safe. “I’m home, Mom.” Her response to my words were full of exclamation points. “Home?! What do you mean home????” Thereby lies the dichotomy: where is home?
I read a poem once about a girl comparing her cultural difficulties of being a first generation Indian American to that of a revolving door. She’s stuck between behaving within cultural guidelines of the society she was born in, and with the those established in her household. Using the same analogy, I now feel as though my home is a revolving door between life in Fullerton, Orange County and Berkeley, Bay Area.
This revolving door of mine is not as lubricated as Kawai’s door in comparison, per se. Unlike me, she interprets her situation (she’s also a student at Berkeley) in a positive demeanor: she embraces two separate homes. On the other hand, I struggle with the notion of juggling two “households.” Whenever I am up north, I yearn for my family (almost entirely my mom) and my close friends. Whenever I am down south, I undergo withdrawals from the bonds I’ve established at school.
The people I’ve written about in the past have almost comprised of SoCal cats since the birth of this blog, so the focus of this post in particular will be on NorCal counterparts. It’s been only two days since I’ve flown back to Fullerton, yet I’m already suffering from the aforementioned withdrawals. Let’s first talk about Ehrman Hall Floor 7, the place I mistakenly (or not?) labeled “home” in Berkeley.
The target audience in every previous post of mine has been directed towards pre-Berkeley-life folks. In turn, this post is intended for the latter; only they will understand the inside jokes.
My roommate, once again, is Sameer. It’sameericle that I have him as a roommate, no joke. Life without him is like a party without Sameernoff; life without Sameer is like an alcoholic without somebeer; life without Sameer is like diamonds without De Beers. In all seriousness, I couldn’t have been luckier having him as a roommate. He’s incredibly smart, humorous, diverse, and multifaceted. He provides me with honest advice, entertainment in times of boredom, and an annoying alarm clock that rings throughout the morning. He consistently sets the curves as a mechanical engineering (damn Indians…) which, believe it or not, motivates me to do better in my own classes. Moreover, he literally pushes me to quit procrastinating when my studying is secondary to my hobbies. After one semester, I feel as though I’ve known this guy for multiple years.
Because describing everyone who I’ve connected with in Ehrman 7 in great detail would be like writing a final essay all over again, I’ll condense it down a few notches. Our end of the hall consists of Crispin who thinks he and Sameer could compete on a bromantic level as Jason and I. There’s Jon in sweats who remains the nice guy despite denying so, followed by Jun the guy-abuser of the floor; she makes up for Linda being constantly teased by myself, so no complaints on my end. There’s “one of the guys of the floor” in Claire who lives in the middle of nowhere (that rhymes). There’s also Jaclyn who constantly gets harassed in the middle of her Skype calls, followed by sweet Selene (hence her nickname Serene).
The interquartile range of the floor consists of Kevin, my tennis partner who does not smoke cigarettes. Hyun, on the other hand, lacks any accent and also does not smoke cigarettes. Because smoking cigarettes is bad for them, clearly. Chris occasionally releases outbursts of energy by sprinting through the halls, while Allan occasionally donates edible charity to my stomach (thanks for all the non-diet-approved food). Hannah and Christina provide to-go conversations in the halls and elevators, while Ian is literally “thinking deep thoughts, bitches.” The two Rebeccas are opposites in my book: Bosworth will most indefinitely NOT be missed (touche!), while Ni is missed every time she goes home aka every weekend. As a result, Lidia balances the two heuristics with her moderate stances. Lastly, there’s Dan who I’m not very fond of: his white elephant gift of a lot of chocolates really killed my diet in a single evening.
Moving on to the opposite end of the hall, Terisa the genius (most of the time, anyway) greets everyone with her noticeable “hey!” The bright-and-shiny Shir counters any prospects of negativity, while Adriel is caught in between with his dank personality. Alex is in a frat, dude, yet he pays his dues to the floor. Lastly, Professor Li gives his insights on anything and everything.
In a single semester, I never thought I’d be so influenced by these people. They give me space when I need it, yet intrude when I need them to. Like Jun said, our floor has something special going on; I yearn for others to have the same community.
In its own respects, Berkeley is a second home and family to me based solely on the connections I’ve established. I am blessed to have met these good people.