I’ve never considered my house to be my peaceful sanctuary. It’s chaotic to say the least. Despite all of the times my mom has demanded silence for an important phone call or when I’ve pleaded for quiet to study for a final, my house has never experienced the calm before the storm. We only know the storm.

Every morning as I desperately grasp onto the last few minutes of sleep before my alarm shrieks, I’m awoken by my dad bellowing and roaring plays as if the Seahawks quarterback can hear him through the TV. Every evening I find myself bent over infinite piles of notebooks and textbooks, slaving over that one problem I just can’t figure out. Right as a magical epiphany pops into my head, I lose it to the distracting sound of pots and pans in the kitchen, clanging in the hands of my mom. As I lie on my bed, my hair sprawled across my hot pink fluffy unicorn, I fail to memorize any vocabulary scribbled on my flashcards because my brother’s thunderous and alarmingly wheezy laugh as he plays video games assaults my focus. Even flinging my head underneath my beloved stuffed animal isn’t enough to muffle the noise. It’s like the three of them are huddled around the remote, their fingers pressed hard against it to raise the volume. No matter how high I rise onto my tip toes, I can never reach the remote.

I have always resented the noise. It’s too deafening and distracting. But now, as I look towards my not so distant future, I wonder what I might hear instead. My roommate’s duvet rustling as she rolls over in bed? The squeak emitted from the white board marker my professor wields like a wand? The microwave humming as I heat up yet another instant ramen dinner? The deep rumble of the train vibrating in my bones on my way back to my dorm?

Will I long for the sounds of my house then? Did I take my brother’s boisterous yet gleeful and contagious laugh for granted? Why didn’t I notice how comforting the music my dad creates as his fingers fly across our piano’s ivory keys? How many days–no, hours–no, minutes is it going to take for me to realize that I already miss hearing my mom hum songs in our native language as she’s elbow deep in soap spuds and dirty dishes? When will I realize that the noises I’ve hated so much will be the same ones I miss hearing because they’re forged at the hands of my family?

I do now.

My house is not quiet. It is not calm. It is not serene. It is not my peaceful sanctuary, but it is my home. It’s the walls of a light green house with a white porch encasing the rowdy, raucous, rambunctious, and delightful noises created by the people I love.