Going Home for the Summer: …and the Bad

 by Mariah Castillo

“It’s only teenage wasteland.”

One warm night in May, I took the Metro-North train to the New Haven station. From there, my parents picked me up, and we drove back to central Connecticut. For the first few weeks, I reflected on the past school year, and, as I was in my house by myself (my younger siblings were still in school), one question popped up in my head:

Since when did this place, this house that I’ve been living in for ten years, not become my home?

Of course, many things didn’t change, but some subtle (and not-so-subtle) differences were there. To name a few:

  • Since when did my parents allow my thirteen-year-old brother to play Call of Duty and Halo?
  • Why was my sister being confrontational with everyone?
  • Why did the baby of the family, who before would seek me or my sister out, rather put his face in front of a computer screen?
  • Does anyone else see the plastic tarp taped to cover the holes in the bathroom wall left by broken tiles?
  • Is it normal that I’ve only hung out with two of my friends from high school (one of whom goes to a Seven Sister) despite promising to stay in touch with many more when I graduated?

The 7 train will always have a special place in our hearts.

I was restless in my own house. I wanted to take a taxi or a subway and just go somewhere, but then I remembered neither of them was popular, if not non-existent, in Connecticut. Every time I went out of my hometown, I was at the whim of my parents, and almost every time, at least one of my siblings had to tag along. I could only go as far as my feet could carry me, which, with the heat and humidity, wasn’t very far. This lack of activity was a sudden change from the hustle and bustle of New York City. There were nights I couldn’t even sleep because it was just too quiet.

It’s not to say that all I did during summer break was mope and nap. I recently wrote about my mentoring experience, which ended far too soon for my liking. I also went to Six Flags a few times, loving the adrenaline rush I got on the biggest and baddest rides. I even learned how to cook a few recipes, though I’m never going near a pressure cooker again.

While going back “home” to Connecticut was relaxing overall, in the back of my mind I was missing my home on the Upper West Side. I was missing the lights, the sounds, and even the 7 train that’s always under construction on the weekends. I was missing the independence. I was missing all my friends. I was missing being able to talk freely about issues without my dad dismissing it with “That’s so gay.” or my mom telling me to stop. I missed New York City. I missed Barnard.

Click here for part one, Going Home for the Summer: The Good

Mariah Castillo is a sophomore at Barnard and the Food and New York Editor for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Images courtesy of Milan and Sunnyside Post.


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