I am Nikolay Melnik. I am 21 years old. I am a UW student. I’m a senior studying chemistry.
I moved to the United States from Russia in August 2006.
I was nine years old.
We took a plane from Moscow to New York.
And, I remember—the very first night—falling asleep. And, I would get really weird, abstract thoughts as a kid. I realized that that home that I cherished so much was on the opposite side of the globe. Everything I ever knew was upside down from me.
That thought scared me so much that I went to bed crying that night.
When you, when you feel bad about other things, the majority of the time, you cry, or there’s something you can do to change it. Like, there you felt completely—like I felt completely hopeless, ‘cause like, no matter what I do, I was hundreds and thousands of miles away from my home. So it was really weird.
When we moved here, everything was foreign.
Now I sit and I’m so happy that, that my mom made that move because my life is great compared to a lot of other peoples’ lives. But, back then, I would, like, go to bed praying every night that we would just go back. And that lasted for a very long time. Maybe, like, a year before I stopped being—I like stopped missing home as much.
I really wanted to just be in my own house and my own city because it was familiar.
I think the need for familiarity faded. It—cause it—I was—it was forced to fade, otherwise I’d just be bummed my entire life.
After a while, home became wherever, wherever my mom and my sister were.