Creating Home Away from Home

Relationship: Im/migrant
Times Square in 2020, taken by Shruti
Times Square in 2020, taken by Shruti
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Shruti Jain, an international PhD student at Binghamton University, immigrated to the United States in 2020, at the peak of the pandemic, with her partner and was greeted by the deserted streets of NYC. Needless to say, Shruti’s immigration experience was not a typical one. Due to the nature of her immigration, she has been forced to acclimate very quickly to this new environment. However, as someone who has moved around many times before within India itself, she has had a lot of experience creating home in new physical spaces. One integral way Shruti fosters a sense of home is to cook familiar Indian dishes in her American kitchen, providing her with comfort and familiarity in an otherwise foreign environment. She is greeted by a mix of familiar kitchen utensils, ones that she brought to America from India, and similarly passed down from family members. One specific culinary object that Shruti brought over from India was a pressure cooker. She found value in this particular kitchen appliance because it was cheaper, but more highly functioning than the ones that can be found here. For Shruti, Binghamton is not home just because there are others here that look like her. Binghamton is home because of the close friendships she has consciously invested in that make up a loving, welcoming community. Part of crafting this experience is to expand the personal, culturally-specific preferences like food with people who might and might not come from the same background. 

Place(s): India, Binghamton(NY)
Year: 2020

– Anoushka Mahajan and Joan Kang

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant