Zebra Tales
Noah '21

At Home, Away from Home

On a Tuesday evening in August, as I was packing my bags for my return to Groton, I felt a sense of uncertainty about how long it would be until I am reunited back with my family in Bulgaria. Would that be weeks or a few months? Nonetheless, I decided to treat my departure as if I wouldn’t be returning for a while. As a farewell, I walked down the main street in the center of the city, ate at my favorite restaurant, said goodbye to all my closest friends, and most importantly, I spent memorable time with my grandparents. Having to live through times with an uncertain future, I have learned to cherish the present much more.
After my sister Sophia ’23 and I almost missed our ten-hour flight via Istanbul, we were picked up at JFK by a couple of friends, with whom we fulfilled the recommended two-week quarantine before returning to campus. In those two weeks, I completed my summer reading alongside spending quality time with everyone through conversations, kayaking, and binge-watching random TV shows on Netflix. Time flew by, and before we knew it, we were back on the Circle. 

I would be lying if I said Groton is not different this fall. I’ve had trouble recognizing some of my classmates with their masks on, and I deeply miss some of Groton’s most hallowed traditions such as sit-down dinners, Roll Call, and a full Chapel. However, I like to see everything as “the glass being half-full, not half-empty.” Eating outdoors on the Circle has been a blessing in disguise for me. I’ve been getting the chance to interact with many whom I haven’t spoken to much before. At least for me, a meal is also much more enjoyable outdoors in the fresh air and a cool breeze. Being a Third Form (Freshman) dorm prefect has also been an excellent opportunity for me to get to know some great guys, and to be there for them as they navigate through their first year on the Circle. 

I’m blessed to have been able to go back to school this year and I have a very optimistic outlook on how the year will turn out, regardless of whether it’s what I expect or not. That’s how life is. When I left Groton at the end of the winter term, I had no idea that we wouldn’t return that same spring, let alone almost not have a fall term on campus. Nevertheless, I’ll embrace whatever comes my way. For now, Groton is home and always will be.