After a long winter break traveling between NYC, DC, and Arkansas visiting with my siblings and parents and extended family, I experienced a feeling driving back to Memphis I realize only now I’d been chasing for three weeks: I was coming home. Memphis, over the last two years, has become my place, where I operate in a world that I have uniquely constructed around my interests and connections outside of my background or parents. I love the city for its assets and flaws because, simply, it’s where I feel I belong.
And in my home, the ruka women have definitely become my family. I remember vaguely explaining the importance of family in my interview a year ago, rambling about how being one of five children has shaped me by making me a team player who also shows affection by occasionally insulting the people I love the most. For me, family is complicated and intimate, hilarious and awkward, supportive and difficult, binding and made. In Memphis, I am still one of five, but my ruka family unites over similar values, experiences, and the same table. Through this experience, I have grown to truly love them with the difficulty and hilarity of sisters as opposed to friends.
As we dive into the second semester, I’m most looking forward to having a lot of fun with the women I spent the first semester growing closer to through an equal amount of difficult conversations and humorous quotes. I think the house has been more full of laughter and deeper conversations over the last week than ever before as we joke comfortably and share openly with one another, and I’m excited to see what the coming months bring.
P.S. Catherine is talking about “Palentine’s Day” right now.