notes from the dorm

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 November, 2010, 12:00am

You might think that since I began studying at university more than 12,000 kilometres from home (18 hours by flight), I and my parents would have drifted apart. Far from it.

I'm doing my best to stay in touch with them through daily Skype calls - even if sometimes I miss a few calls ... oops, sorry mum! - and constant text messages. My parents remain a huge part of my life and I do not care how 'lame' that may seem.

I've always loved spending my weekends with my parents. So much time away from them has been really tough for me.

Luckily, once or twice a month, I receive a pink slip that tells me to head downstairs and sign for a package. Mail from Hong Kong always makes my day. I received my first letter from home about two weeks into my time here.

Although my mother's handwriting is barely legible (it takes me a while to read each one of her letters), every time I see her handwriting, I am very touched. Her first letter almost made my eyes well up with tears, as I read how she'd spent her first Mid- Autumn Festival without me.

Here in Canada, I often find myself thinking about things I wouldn't have cared much about back home in Hong Kong. I guess I've learned the truth of the old expression: 'You don't know what you have until you lose it.'

These days, nothing compares to the feeling of receiving a letter or a package from a family member or friend. Opening a new package gives me an intense rush of love. I love sentimental little things. I have received three packages from my constantly worried mother and one from a doting uncle who lives in Toronto.

In her most recent package, my mum added to my growing collection of various teas. I have so many types I could open my own store. She stuffed the rest of the box with the Chinese fashion magazines that I'm obsessed with. She didn't forget the Lotte koala bears, which are both adorable and yummy and serve as my snack of choice during exams.

My uncle, meanwhile, sent me a box full of instant noodles. Thank goodness for that! My friends are as in love with them as I am and my stash was running dangerously low.

I have also sent stuff over to Hong Kong. Hopefully, my parents will receive their third package by the time this article is published. I have sent them some college gear from here so they can 'share' in my experiences not only through my letters and phone calls but also through something they can touch - and perhaps even wear!