[“Don’t Tell Me Your Major Theme” By Malena Ramnath]

Malena: Hey, guys, my name is Malena Ramnath.

Hannah: I'm Hannah Fredly.

Malena: And we're your hosts and fresh and fresh - sorry, no longer freshmen - but sophomore here at Northwestern. This is Don't Tell Me Your Major, an interview podcast where we avoid getting to know people on the surface level with questions like what their major is, where they're from, and how old they are. But try to get to know them on a more profound level. That's how you really know the kind of person someone is rather than judging them based on pre-established stereotypes. We're also joined today by our lovely guest Aida Baimenova - tell me if I got your name wrong - who is currently a junior here at Northwestern. Although we won't tell you what her major is. Say Hi.

Aida: Hi, guys, I’m Aida, it's a pleasure to be on your podcast. Thank you so much for hosting me today Malena and Hannah.

Malena: No, of course. But today, we just wanted to have a little themed discussion. And I want to have a little fun with the word play of being homesick versus sick of home, especially as quarantine drags on, and people are either too stuck at home or stuck far away from it because they can't get back. So I figured we'd chat about that. Also, please forgive any audio weirdness because we all are on zoom calling each other despite being in Evanston, which is kind of random, because we're being the big safe from Corona at this moment in time. But hopefully we’ll see each other soon. So my first question for you Aida. And then, you know, Hannah, and I can answer afterwards would be, um, where do you consider home and right now are you home sick or sick of home.

Aida: Um, so I'm, I was born and raised in Kazakhstan. And although I went to high school in Singapore, I very much considered Kazakhstan home. I did spend quite a bit of time in Kazakhstan due to COVID. I spent a lot of time in summer in Kazakhstan, which normally doesn't happen, which, I guess it was a bittersweet situation, it kind of sucked to be stuck in Kazakhstan, but at the same time, I got to spend a lot of quality time with my family, and especially my friends from home who all of us went to international schools growing up outside of Kazakhstan. And so it was really, really nice to reconnect with them, and I guess be stuck together although it did result in us all getting COVID. But I currently am healthy. I am in Evanston. And I'm not feeling too homesick because I'm very much in the mindset of, I need to grind. This is the environment where I'm going to be the most productive and I'm just happy to be safe and doing things that I enjoy, which right now are my classes and hanging out with some of my friends from university.

Malena: Okay, Hannah, tell us about home. Do you miss it? What's going on there?

Hannah: So home for me is France. I spent a lot of time this summer with my parents and my sister. I really, really enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun. But you know, there comes a point after like, you know, two, three, four, five months, where you're like, well, OK, I might need my own space right now. But you have your parents on you 24/7, you're like, oh, okay, I need out. So I was really happy to come to Evanston and get some sort of social interaction outside of my family.

Malena: No, I, okay. So I'm exactly the same way where it's like, I had such a good time being home this summer. But I think it was tough because like Aida, I also graduated from Singapore. Wow. So similar. I graduated from Singapore, and then my parents moved to D.C. So I was home all summer with no friends, and they could kind of tell that I was losing it as much as I enjoyed spending time with them. So I think it's kind of a balance, but now that I'm back, I literally call my parents every day, I think I developed an attachment to them again over the summer. Literally, my mom was like, “Malena, you don't have to call us every day if you're working.” I was like, “I'm gonna call you every day. OK.” So that was cute. But yeah, okay. My next question is, let me look at my list.  Who in your life - OK, this kind of sappy but, who in your life feels most like home? And I mean, you can't say your parents because, obviously, you know, it's probably going to be your parents. Because those they’re you know, who you grew up with, but um, who do you feel feels most like home and not your, you know, your family or whatever. Aida, I'll let you go first.

Aida: So I can't say my twin because I actually have a twin sister. And she's the definition of home to me. Can I, can I not?

Malena: I guess you can, I guess you can. Yeah. Dude, I didn't know you had a twin. What is this?

Aida: No. I know, I'm a twin. And you know, it's actually kind of crazy. Whenever someone is a twin, I can kind of sense that. Like, you might know Blake. The other day I found out he was a twin. And I was like that makes so much sense. Twins just have such a twin energy to them. But no yeah, being a twingrowing up, the longest I've been separated from my twin for was probably like a week. Even when we were in Singapore. You know, I still remember. Oh my god, that was such a random thing. I think we went to Greece and then my twin had meningitis so she couldn't come to Greece with us. So we were separated for a week. And she's been forever salty about that. But coming, coming to college, I guess. And not being able to be with her, I had major withdrawals. And it wasn't even homesickness. It was just like, part of me was missing, literally, a whole half of me was missing. And she's coming to visit very soon, which I'm really excited about. But something you don't realize when you spend your whole life 24/7 with another person is that you're having no idea how to call them. It feels so incredibly awkward and unnatural to dial them up on FaceTime or even just text them. So we could go like, I probably talked to all my friends from home and from Singapore more than her just because we just don't know how to call each other. So she would be my home for sure. And I know that I kind of cheated the question but I kind of had to go with her for this one.

Malena: No, that makes a lot of sense. Like I hear all these crazy things about you know, how twins can really feel each other in a different way. Some of it, I'm sure it's superstition, but, I think that's so cool. But Hannah.

Aida: If you punch her I’ll feel it.

Malena: Then I’m definitely going to punch her. No, I’m just kidding.

Aida: No, it was a fun thing to do middle school people would be like, oh you guys really feel each other? I'd be like, well, you can punch her and we can find out and she wouldn't be too happy about it. But that was a thing.

Malena: Okay, Hannah, obviously, your sister but who else feels like home?

Hannah: I think I'm gonna go with, the obvious choice is obviously my closest friends from home. So I have three girlfriends, specifically, girls, I also have a lot of good, guy friends. But I want to mention the girlfriends specifically. Because it's, you know, who you share your secrets with and who you chat with at night. And if you have problems or anything, those are the people you call up, you FaceTime and everything.  I also wanted to mention something funny, that Aida mentioned is that when you have a sister, and you're just used to being in the same household and sort of seeing each other every day, you're not used to calling them. And so it's, it really is, so weird to call someone and force out a conversation. Because usually you just like hanging out around each other, you know, that's day to day life.

Malena: No, I totally. So, yes, I have a sister too. And it's also funny, because, I know, Hannah, your sister and my sister, like the same age and have weirdly similar personalities. And, when I'm home with my sister, I'll just go into her room and annoy her, you know, but, I'll never actually have a conversation. You know, we started having more conversations now that I've been gone for college, but before, that was mostly just go into a room and punch her and then leave kind of thing you know, but that kind of thing.

Hannah: Same for me.

Malena: Yeah, so I definitely miss her a lot. And she feels like home. But also I moved a lot when I was younger. And I had this one friend from Mexico City named Nando. And he, I would never have expected us to stay friends this long. But he came and visited me in Singapore, and to this day, I still call him you know, all the time and we're taking a class, an online class together and everything. And so it's good to have those people you go back to you from I think, when you were little like when I was in seventh grade. But okay, we're hitting time. So I'll say the last question kind of rapid fire, but also kind of light before we wrap up, and I just say thank you. Um, what, so everybody's always like, oh, what's your comfort food? You know, but we've asked that on this podcast before. So my question is, which is what I've been thinking of kind of recently is, what's your comfort drink and it doesn't have to be alcoholic, you know, we're pure beans, but, um, my roommate will just come and sit down with a giant ass glass of milk. And I'm just like, are you five years old? Like, what is this dude, I love him. But it's like, what are you doing? That's a liter of milk you're drinking right now. That's not good for your intestines. And so for me, I think the drink that reminds me most of home is probably, Ribena. I don't know if anybody's had that. But it's blackcurrant juice. And I had that I used to drink that all the time when I was little. Um, so yeah, Ribena for me is the drink that tastes most like home. But yeah, okay.

Aida: I expected you to say Milo to be completely honest.

Malena: Yeah. Milo is, for our listeners, Milo is this chocolate powder. That's mostly in Singapore. It's kind of Nesquik so yeah.

Aida: Yeah, I think it comes from Australia. So it's really big in Australia as well. But Singaporeans are so obsessed with it that every high school fair we had, our school used to hire a Milo truck. And they would, they would just pour Milo left and right and that was the best thing ever.

Malena: Oh my gosh. Yeah.

Aida: But no, yeah, I guess quickly. If I were to go with my comfort drink, it's not something I go for often because I kind of realized that lactose was really bad for you and I shouldn't really be having too much milk. But growing up whenever I was sick or whenever I don't know something was wrong. My mom would always make me hot milk with honey. Um, and actually yesterday I don't know yesterday I was feeling a little down and I also made myself some hot milk with honey and I mixed up a bunch of tumeric in it because that's what mom would do if I was proper sick so just honey, turmeric, maybe some pepper in there and yeah, I'm right back home.

Malena: That's so cute. That's what my dad does too. He's Indian. So he would, I remember him bringing that up occasionally. But okay Hannah really quick. What's your what's your home drink?

Hannah: Capri Sun or Capri Sun. Or however you pronounce it.

Malena: Dude! That’s so facts. Although I have no idea how to pronounce it, it's a constant debate in my household.

Aida: Capri Sun, I think we say Capri Sun.

Malena: I don't know.

Malena: But okay, that being said, we're hitting our limit. But thank you so much guys for coming on. And Hannah for hosting with me. This has been another great podcast of Don't Tell Me Your Major brought to you by NBN Audio. See you guys in a couple of weeks.

Hannah: Bye:

Aida: Thank you Malena, see you, bye!

Malena: Bye.

[“Don’t Tell Me Your Major Theme” By Malena Ramnath]