Many young people go through the struggle of their parents moving from their childhood home but few know the struggle of a move that big and truly life changing. A 28-hour plane ride is a seemingly unreachable distance and one that would prevent Simon from the frequent visits that he was used to during college. He never pictured himself as the type to go home regularly on weekends, but also never realized how much he would miss it now that it wasn’t an option. He could physically go back to his house in Cary, North Carolina but it was just not the same without his parents there, and knowing that they did not live there anymore was more than enough to make him upset and to think about how things used to be.
The last time that he was able to see his parents was six months ago and he faces hardships and challenges because of it. “Maintaining a daily routine is difficult and if I start to think about, then I start to get depressed. It has affected me more than I thought it would. Right after I had finally gotten comfortable at school, they moved. I felt like I had just worked out issues that I had been having and now I was having to deal with new issues that went with the central figure leaving the house.”
The hardest thing for Simon was that in the back of his mind he knew that he would have to come back to UNC with his parents in another country, whereas before they were only 30 minutes away. His entire support system that he had been depending on so much to make a smooth transition was uprooted and there was nothing that he could do about it. “If I feel like I can’t do it, I have no choice, and if I need support I can’t get it. My parents are only a phone call away but it is eye opening because I have to do things by myself now and look after my two sisters who are living with my grandma at a critical time in their growth and don’t have their parents around.”
“I get to visit a new place that is foreign and exciting but it doesn’t feel like home. If I have learned anything from my parents moving it would be that I believe that sometimes when we are forced into situations that we do not choose we may not always know it then, but they help us to grow and learn; and we are better off because of them. So here I am. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do and what I can accomplish, but I am excited to figure it all out.”
Simon continues to adapt to his new life without his parents, just as they adapt to living in a foreign country and dealing with being ‘foreigners’ for the first time. The entire family has had to change their routines and adjust but they have all learned from it and think that it is actually bringing them closer together, despite the distance. They talk more than they used to and now are able to cherish the times that they do get to spend together, rather than just take it for granted. They all think about how they have evolved and all realize how lucky it was Simon’s father to be able to take the job that advanced his career, even though it meant needing to move.
Simon at his house in Chapel Hill, NC
Not a day goes by that Simon does not contemplate his life and think about his future. It is something that consumes him because he does not know exactly what he wants to do after graduation or where his life is going to take him. However, the every day happiness that he feels now after coming to terms with his parents moving and seeing their success is something that he is grateful for. He has reconnected with friends, gotten more organized in school and discovered passions that make him truly happy. He has discovered that playing basketball not only takes him back to the fond memories that he has from childhood but also helps him to deal with stress in a healthy way.
It is something that connects him to the place that he is in, wherever that may be. And a passion that helps him to feel more like himself. It is days like this when he is exuberant. "Now when I look outside I see the horizon in a whole new way. Before it separated me from my family and now I am not worried about my future, but excited for what it brings."