I came back from living abroad for 8ish months, and I learned what it's like to live with my family again after 9 years.


I came back from living abroad for 8ish months, and I learned what it's like to live with my family again after 9 years.

First Name


Last Name


Current location

West Orange, NJ, USA

Relationship to Union


Minerva House

When this took place

Starting March 11th, to now

My Experience

So, I've been a Minerva Fellow for this past year, living in Cambodia. Life there was planned, but much more relaxed. Think a staff meeting at 2, that ended up starting around 2:15, not wearing shoes in the workplace, the warmth and open-air in classrooms. I'm a somewhat relaxed person, so it took a lot for me to open up in this new atmosphere. I reflected a lot upon myself, my life, everything around me, etc. Around the beginning of March, I was encouraged to make a bucket list of things I want to do before leaving the area. I included things I knew would challenge me, would be outside my comfort zone, and things I just wanted to say I did (a brunch at bugs cafe, eating food with bugs cooked inside... who wouldn't want that on their list?). However, the weekend after I made this list, the schools in Cambodia closed, and we were required to go home in consultation with Union administration. A week between my making a bucket list and landing in JFK. I came home to my family, living in a townhouse as a result of a winter storm destroying part of our house. I lived out maybe 3 weeks in a fugue- watching SVU and other shows I didn't get to in 8 months, eating everything in site, and driving in close range to see sites and places i missed. I was under my own form of quarantine, not being able to see my friends and family, especially those I had spent almost every day of my 4 years with. And then, it really hit me when schools and businesses started to close. I'd never thought that the world would close down in a rapid three months. And I felt stuck, because I was officially confined, from any normal social experience one would have after, you know, being away from home for 8 months. And on top of this, the universe has now confined me to a future of stated living with my family for who knows how long. I've been away at boarding school and college for a combined total of 8 years, and adding Cambodia, I've never actually spent more than 2.5 months at home at a time. At this point, I'm nearing the 2 months range. I can't say that I love the confinement, which must sound weird coming from an introvert. I love my family, but the independence, freedom, and creativity that I found while living by myself, and just living in Cambodia (essentially as an adult) was something that appeased to me a lot. At this point in my life, my future is planned for the next three years at law school, with an almost ensured internship for two years at a tbd site, granted with my program. Until August, however, my life is an empty space of Zoom calls, increased social distancing, and endless walks around my neighborhood, seeing others, but not being able to do what I've been used to doing for 9 years. I will be living at home the next few years (the prodigal daughter, has returned), but I always had in my mind, that I'd have an extra community I could see in real life, talk to, stay in physical contact with. The missing sense of contact that has been caused by leaving a community, and coming back to the one I'm most familiar with has been a very confusing experience, but one I'm sure will only help me grow with the times. I'm not really sure where I meant to go with all of this, but I'm glad I was able to type it all down.

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