It was way past our bed time and were lying on my futon, scrolling through social media as most teenagers do, when Facebook informed me that there was a meteor shower in Ames. When I casually mentioned this to him, a space enthusiast, he was adamant about going to see it, not caring that it was the middle of the night. So, we put on warm clothes and trekked in the mid December cold to go see some stars. I followed him with reluctant excitement; “I have the perfect place for this!” he claimed. He had us walk through an extremely unlit, scary path to one the most beautiful places I had seen, a sundial. It was far away from people, in fact, there was little to no light pollution. We laid a blanket on the floor of the sundial, surrounded by trees, and laid down, stargazing. He then showed me different stars and planets and how all they all aligned and somewhere along the way, I forgot all of my worries. It made me realize that in a universe so vast, we were all but just a tiny speck of dust and, any worries we had did not really matter in the grand scheme of things. That is the moment, this place, almost 8000 miles away from everything I have known finally felt like home. A place where I belonged.
If I had to pick one word to describe what I felt my first semester here, I would be ‘overwhelm’. Somewhere in between moving, getting used to a new place, a new culture and transitioning from high school to college, I felt lost. Among this chaos, one of the things I really appreciated was a friend from my home town who also moved here with me. Who I went to see a meteor shower with. This particular event was pivotal to me because before this I did not feel a connection to this place, Ames to me was just a city. Just somewhere I am going to spend the next 4 years of my life. But after that, it transcended to a place that I have grown to love, to cherish. Whenever I feel lonely or overwhelmed or sad I look up to the sky, no matter what day of the week or wherever I go, I know the stars would remain the same. That despite being 8000 miles away from everything I know, I was always under the same sky, under the same roof. And that to me, was one of the most eye-opening thing that has happened to me since I moved here.