When I picture my house, instantly the kitchen island comes to mind. It is made of light maple wood and has a tan granite counter. There’s a big stainless steel sink in the center and piles of paperwork, mail, and flyers are stacked on one side while a bowl of fruit rests on the other. The island lies in between the kitchen and the living room, which is the center of all activity in my house. On an ordinary day, my mother will cook and clean the kitchen as I sit at the tall countertop helping my brother and sister with their homework. Later, our family might have dinner there, some of us standing, some of us sitting on the black iron stools. At other times, I might wash a peach and eat it quickly before I leave for yoga class, while my sister stops at the computer resting on the cool granite to check Facebook before she makes her way upstairs to take a shower. The island is always being used for something, and I most frequently find my family members sitting there.
To me, the kitchen island is more than a piece of furniture or a place to eat; it is the part of my house that feels like home. It isn’t formal, there’s no need for placemats, centerpieces, or fancy home-cooked meals. Though it can be used as a hub for work, meals, and leisure, its importance to me comes from the fact that it brings my family together. I can spend a few minutes to chat with a family member as I am passing by, or hours having a deep conversation with my father. My friends and I will often sit across from my mother asking her for advice as she leans on the countertop, listening intently. I know that no matter how busy my day is I’ll always have a place to interact with my family, a place that brings us together, helping to create the strong bond I have with my parents and siblings.
Though I depend on my family for love, encouragement, and advice, there is a side of me that is independent and adventurous. In the past four years, I’ve left my family several times, traveling to different countries around the world. After my first visit to New York, I decided to attend Fordham, which meant I had to leave my home in Southern California, over two thousand miles away. Because my parents are supportive of me and eager to give me the opportunity to create new experiences for myself, I was not nervous to be the first of my extended family to move to the East Coast. I know I will always have the kitchen island, and my family surrounding it, to come back to, and this knowledge gives me the self-assurance to take risks in my work and my life.