I enjoy studying abroad and learning to be independent. But I also miss being at home. I love being able to see my family and dogs after a long day of studying.
Having a home away from home makes me appreciate my time in Hong Kong even more. I still drool whenever my parents send me photos of a whole table of home-cooked food, like winter melon soup and steamed ground pork with salted egg yolk.
Luckily this year I live in a house of eight people. I am happy to call the house a "home". Unlike a boarding house or halls of residence, I see the same people a lot more this year. As a result, I have a closer bond with them. Of course, there are times that I have to remind my housemates that it is important to keep things clean. And there are times that I have to be reminded to be sociable.
But now, I have a buddy to go grocery shopping with every Saturday morning. I also have someone to bake with when I feel stressed about work. We knock on each other's door to check if everything's going OK. We also know each other's timetable, so we can avoid disturbing each other. If I am really busy one day, someone else might even offer to cook dinner for me.
I also appreciate how the house solves problems. If one of us is inviting a friend over, we will post to our house's Facebook group to let everyone know. This means people can plan around the visit, especially when it comes to things like cooking. It shows that we have respect for and trust each other.
In many ways, a house is like a small version of society. It can only be happy if people listen to each other, and learn to put themselves into others' shoes.