It’s hard to predict what you’ll miss about home. When I’m about to go away, I try to soak everything up so I’ll remember it when I’m not home. But I never know what to pay attention to until I miss it because I never know how to anticipate these things.
Before I left for college, I made it a point to meet and talk to people who had already gone before me and ask them what I should bring and know. (Bring some maggi, maybe cili sos, some spices. Leave the bedsheets and notebooks, you can get them there.) But how can you really ask people and expect to be told everything or expect to be fully prepared, really?
When I got to Penn, I was hit by the magnitude of how much I missed things. Things I didn’t even know where things at all. The metric system. The style of pavements on the sidewalk. It’s a rubbish bin, not a trash can. Knowing where to go to buy a penyapu. ATMs that took in and held your debit card while you completed your transaction. 100 Plus. The list is endless and I have gone on for too long.
So today, I went to Ameena Bee, the local stationery shop. They don’t really have those in the US, I think. I just get my stationery at CVS, which is basically the pharmacy. It’s strange to think that I’d go to like Watsons or Guardian to buy notebooks and pens. Anyway, when I stepped in, I felt so at home. I felt at home in a way that took me back to 2008 and I was working on a sejarah folio, or to 2010 when I was buying materials for khemah hari sukan or even 2015 when I bought envelopes and paper for thank you cards to give to the people I worked with last year.
There were so many times in the US I felt like I just wanted to buy two pieces of paper or one piece of corrugated cardboard and just couldn’t. And it’s just this urge, this feeling of darting back to familiarity at every chance my mind gets. But today, I was in the familiar.