When Mom is on the other side of the Pacific

By Holiday Tang

As an international student, my feelings about Moms Weekend are complicated, as my mom is on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.

On one hand, I am excited because it is my first time experiencing Moms Weekend, which is a special and fun part of our campus culture. On the other hand, my mom will still be 7,849 miles away while all of my friends on campus will be having a great time with their moms. I wish she could be here, too.

I still remember the day I said goodbye to her before I flew across the Pacific Ocean from China. The memory of me hugging her goodbye at the airport is still crystal clear in my mind. I was neither sad about having to leave her, nor excited about all the prospective adventures I would experience here. Instead, I was in a state of numbness, simply wondering how different life would be without my family.

The day I left, she was cooking breakfast for me, they way she did every day. In that moment, I did not truly appreciate her for doing it, but now when the sun comes up and there is no jasmine-rice porridge on my table, I miss it.

There have been occasions where I think of my mom and my memories with her, but the phase of adjustment was not as brutal as I imagined it would be. Everything seems to be falling into place, and surprisingly, I fit in so well that this campus almost feels like a new home.

I feel a strong sense of inclusiveness and belonging, and my diverse friendships here have kept me away from loneliness since the day I moved in. Staying busy with schoolwork and campus organizations has kept me too busy to miss my mom all the time.

I didn’t miss her too much, until Moms Weekend started to get closer. Multiple events and programs being held for students and their mothers are happening around campus. The creativity and novelty in these diverse programs enthralls me, but I struggle to find fascination in such occasions because they would be so much more meaningful if my mom was here.

My best friends are all excited about these events and have made plans to attend a black chorus concert, a musical and a craft fair. They are all looking forward to having a good time with their moms.

When they shared their plans with me, they were so excited, and for a moment, their enthusiasm was contagious. Unfortunately, within seconds, my loneliness and longing to see my mom again returned.

Since then, I have realized that I am not the only international student in this situation, and talking to them has helped me realize that there are other ways for me to celebrate Moms Weekend with my mother.

I decided to surprise my mom with a special gift, a video in which I will have my best friends wish her a happy Moms Weekend in Cantonese and either send her a personal message or tell her a story of something we did this year. I can’t wait to FaceTime her after she watches it. I know it will make her smile.

When I see her in a month and a half, there are so many things I will want to share with her. I can imagine myself telling her of all of my adventures in the United States as we eat delicious dim-sums, the Chinese breakfast desserts we love. My maternal grandparents will welcome our whole family to a dinner, and I will get to hear stories from when my mom was my age.

Mostly, I am just looking forward to a warm hug from her.

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