By Nicole Cobar

When I was in the second grade, I was assigned to make a family tree. When the other kids presented their projects, they had large trees going back many, many generations. My classmates were able to explain who everyone on the tree was, sharing stories of what they were like, what their hobbies were, and even personal anecdotes of their time spent with said relative. When I saw my peers’ projects, I remember feeling embarrassed. Although my project spanned three generations, I could only explain four leaves on my family tree: my mom, my dad, my sister, and my dog. On my family tree, I had my grandparents and my great-grandparents, but I could not explain who they were, what they were like, or even pronounce their names. However, I could speak for hours about the four leaves at the bottom of the tree. From that moment on, I realized how close and dependent I am on my immediate family.

Both of my parents are immigrants. They both left their families behind, in different countries when they moved to the United States. Because of this, I am in a complicated situation where I have a family, but I don’t have the experience of having a family. I have uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandmothers, but I do not have a relationship with any of these people. To me, the only family I have ever had are my parents and my sister.

My parents, sister, and I are extremely close because we are all each other have. We are so close that we have spent every day with each other since I was born. The most time I have spent away from my family is the six hours I spend in school. That is, until this week. My Dad is producing Snoop Dogg’s 2018 Puff Puff Pass Tour. For the next nine days, he will be traveling across the country, touring with Snoop, making this the most time I have spent away from him.

I miss my Dad. It has been weird having family dinners without him. It has been weird coming home from school and not being able to tell him about my day or to give him a hug before I go to sleep. Since my Dad left, I’ve had this feeling that is a little hard to explain. I feel unmotivated, sad, and distant from others. I am nonstop thinking about my Dad. Overall, I feel a little empty. I was so perplexed by this feeling that I googled the symptoms and the results turned up an unusual diagnosis. I am homesick. At first, this didn’t make sense, because I am still living in the same house, going to the same school. Then, it occurred to me that ‘home’ is more than just a location. There is a big difference between a house and a home. A house is a building, something concrete. A home is more abstract. It is a special place where you feel comfortable and where you feel you belong.

They say “Home is where the heart is.” My heart belongs to three people, and one of these people is not with me right now. His absence is very apparent in my house. Without my Dad, it feels less like home. Without my Dad, my house, and I feel a little empty. I cannot wait until my Dad gets back from his business trip. I am sure that when we go to pick him up from LAX, and I give him a hug, my homesickness will be cured.