It’s often said a person’s bedroom is an extension of themselves, and for me, that quote rings undeniably true.
Located next to Athens Cemetery on Shafer Street, University Commons is where my home away from home resides. As an international student, bringing all my possessions was never a logical option. Smaller items that could fit into my suitcases were all I allowed myself to bring as reminders of home.
Art prints of various Japanese cartoons and games I’ve collected over the years decorate the wall beside my bed. Some prints were drawn and gifted by talented friends, while others were bought in support of local artists. Hanging above my bed are photos with friends back home taken over summer break, and knickknacks varying from glitter jars to hand-made dolls. Although it is not used often, a prayer book stands above my bed as a charm to ward against nightmares and difficult times.
On the other side of the room, a board on my closet displays every activity and events I’ve attended with friends since attending Ohio University, with movie ticket stubs, plane tickets and event tickets taking up significant portions of the board. Photos of Watson, my cat, are displayed with a motivational quote, encouraging me through harder times.
On any regular day, the bed is crowded with numerous pillows, blankets and animal plush dolls scattered untidily. On rare occasions, being able to spend time cuddled up in bed with only the company of a dim glow from a candle represents the perfect weekend retreat for an introvert like me.
A bedroom can mean many things to an individual. It could be a place a person goes to with the sole purpose of seeking sleep or a sanctuary for a person to relax after long and exhausting daily activities.
But my bedroom means more than just that. To me, my bedroom is the ultimate judgment-free zone. It’s a place where it’s OK for me to chatter back and forth between a mix of languages and accents without having to worry if people will be able to understand what I’m saying. It’s also a place where I can be surrounded by images of things I love and items that make me feel happy without being judged for it. It may seem cliché, but my bedroom is the one place where I am able to feel truly “normal” on the days I feel like an alien in a foreign land.
Long Skype sessions with my sister and the occasional gaming sessions with friends back home help combat the loneliness I feel, even if they don’t occur as frequently as I wish it could.
It has been five months since I began living in the commons and approximately 18 months since I began my journey studying abroad. Life is sometimes difficult and missing the comfort of home is never a good feeling. But at least for now, as I’m covered by soft blankets after a long day of writing articles and finishing assignments, this little corner of the universe feels a lot more like home.