A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
The other day I found it weird that one of my closest friend and also my neighbour wanted to take me out for dinner to an Indian restaurant. We usually cook together a lot and are good buddies so when he said we’re going out for dinner I was a bit surprised but agreed to it. I tried to cancel on that day because I was super exhausted from classes and everything.
We get on the tram and then take the tram towards this part of town where one of our close friend lives. Apparently the restaurant was close to her house. When we got off the tram I was blindfolded and lead to the restaurant. When I took off the blindfold my closet friends from university were all there, with Bollywood music playing in the background and curry that they had cooked. I teared up so much. They had been planning this for weeks, ever since I expressed to one of them about how I was homesick and was seriously considering moving to America cause of the big Indian communities in universities, which might sound a bit silly.
It didn’t stop there. We went on to play Holi, my favorite Indian festival.
(Copyright: Poras Chaudhary)
Holi is the Indian festival of colours. It is celebrated for a number of reasons, mostly mythical. It is also celebrated to welcome the coming of spring. It is a time when people put aside their differences and come together as a community to celebrate.
All of us wore garbage bags on top of our clothes to prevent the colour from staining our clothes. I’ve never celebrated holi wearing garbage bags but it was a clever idea on my friends part. Some of them had never experienced holi before and for those twenty minutes we were throwing colours at each other we forgot about how cold it was (2 degrees).
Whenever I am upset or feel alone I think back to every one of my friends who was there that night and realize how I have a family here too. A strong family. I think that everyone needs a support system like this when they move abroad.