Fall break might be just a break from classes for most students, but for some in our community, it was more than that.

The most awaited and celebrated festival of lights, Diwali, was during our October break. The festival is all about celebrating with near and dear ones, eating varieties of food, praying, and being grateful for everything that we’ve got.

Unfortunately, this was a Diwali away from home for most of us. It was a really sad atmosphere as everybody wished they were home celebrating with family. But we knew that Duke had given us an amazing set of friends who were always around to cheer each other up. So we decided to celebrate our own Diwali in Durham, and what a celebration that was! We cooked all sorts of Indian dishes and sweets and went out to celebrate together.  Some of us even went to the nearby city of Raleigh to explore, and there we tried different cuisines and went to celebrate at a bar.

For the other half of the break as I was missing my family, so I went to Austin, Texas, where my younger cousin is pursuing his undergraduate degree. The city was beautiful with every street depicting a new culture. Austin, well known for its food, was a charming city on its own. We explored, tried out different restaurants, and even celebrated Halloween in the city’s most happening event and street! I felt like an undergrad all over again.

Out of this experience, I realized that no matter how homesick you might get during important events like these, “all you need are some friends and a good song to sing along.” Fall break was an eye-opener as I realized how fortunate I was to celebrate my favorite festival at my home away from home in Durham.