Hannah Croft is a journalism freshman and Mustang Daily freshman columnist.

You’re probably wondering why on Earth the editors of the Mustang Daily gave me this freshman column. I guess what makes me worthy of this duty is the fact that I’m a freshman who happens to go on a lot of adventures with my partner in crime and fellow freshman columnist J.J. Jenkins (you know, the one you saw on this page last week inside a trashcan).

Aside from those adventures, I have a knack for getting into really awkward scenarios. I think I was hired to share my embarrassing stories. This is kind of mean, now that I think about it.

But I’m OK with it, with telling you about the time I ripped my pants falling off my neighbor’s bed or the night I spilled my dinner all over the floor of Metro — but those are all stories for other columns (spoiler alert!).

What I really want to tell you about is my most recent encounter with a kitchen table. No, this isn’t one of those trip-and-fall tales that ends in bruises. I’m talking about my first home cooked meal since leaving my cozy home in Santa Rosa, Calif. and after eight weeks of eating whatever looks the least questionable at VG’s.

I walked through the door of my friend’s Santa Barbara home to be greeted by the smell of freshly baked garlic bread and warm smiling faces. The parents and sister introduced themselves, and I instantly felt welcome.

We made our way into the kitchen, smiles plastered across our faces at the thought of something other than campus food.

Dinner was simple — spaghetti with tomato sauce, green salad and fruit salad. But there was something different about this meal (other than the fact that it tasted good).

As I sat there surrounded by my friends, who have so quickly become like family, and a family who instantly adopted me as one of their own, I realized this was the first time in two months I’ve sat at a table in a home.

That night showed me how much I took for granted back home. I could be cliché and say you don’t know what you have until it’s gone, but I don’t think fortune cookie sayings do this feeling justice.

I think more than anything I missed sitting at a table, passing around bowls of salad and bottles of lemonade. I missed the feeling which comes with being surrounded by the comforts of home.

Do I admit I was homesick? Do I admit I cured my homesickness not by going home and seeing my parents, but by eating a quick dinner at my new best friend’s house?

I’ll admit it for every other freshman who’s too afraid to admit it: I am homesick. Or at least I was, until I got a taste of home, even if it wasn’t my own. Who knew a kitchen table could remedy homesickness? Not even fine dining can compare to the simplicity of our perfect evening of freshly cooked pasta and pastries.

So, fellow freshmen, I guess I have a bit of advice. If your friend, roommate, Week Of Welcome leader, residential adviser (RA) or whoever invites you to dinner with family, jump at the opportunity. You’d be surprised by how quickly people welcome you into their homes and families.

Soak up the delicious food and good conversation while you can. Punctuate a life of boring campus food with some adventurous nights in your roommate’s childhood home. It’s worth it, trust me.

The kitchen, the table and the people around it are undoubtedly some of the most important things in my life. They’re the things I miss most, and what I took for granted. I’m really grateful for my friend and his family — grateful enough that I wrote his mom a letter.

Hopefully I’ll get invited back.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.