When I first started college and settled into my cramped dorm room, I didn't realize how much care packages would make me miss home until the first one came in the mail. As someone who has the privilege of being able to go to an out-of-state university, I am more than thankful to my parents for being able to provide me with the opportunity to be on my own, but I have to say, it got quite lonely a few dozen times.

But ever since freshman year, my mom and dad have always made the effort to put together different kinds of care packages, and all were appreciated (and devoured) to the fullest. It's not hard to notice how much love and care they put into these packages, since they were always filled with things I loved or needed, like medicine whenever I got sick. And the first package had all of my favorite things to cure my homesickness.

My First Package

This Instagram post above (when framing photos used to be a thing) shows a photo I took of my first care package my parents ever sent me. From Mom: variety of instant ramen, microwavable packages of sticky white rice, dried seaweed packets, and a few other things. From Dad: honey sticks, infused lavender honey, energy bars, tea infuser, headphones to wear to help me fall asleep, and other products at the bottom of the box.

With this first package, it was an important one to not only me, but to my parents since they wanted it to have as many of my favorite things as possible. Since my mom and I are Korean, she knew adding Korean food to the box would temporarily cure my cravings for Korean food and snacks. But Dad added things into the package that would immediately lighten up my mood, like the honey sticks and the headphones he sent me, which were extremely valued since I can't fall asleep unless I'm listening to music (I know, it's a terrible habit).

The Parents

Whitney Lauren Han

Since I'm pretty sure my parents wouldn't like to have a photo of themselves shown in this article, I put a picture of their most recent card that they sent me with my most recent care package. As you can see, my parents have an interesting sense of humor that feeds off of each other. I didn't realize it until a few minutes later that my dad was trying to make an "unamused" face with the arrow at the bottom to call Mom out on copying a joke from a different card.

The best way I can describe my relationship with my mom in one paragraph would be this: If we went shopping together and found a comfy sweater that we both love, we would buy two of them in different sizes (since I'm drastically bigger than she is). I'm not joking about buying two pairs of the same thing. We currently have at least five articles of clothing in a size for me and in a size for her. And if we could watch all of the Iron Man movies in a row at home without Dad glaring at us, we most certainly would.

With my dad, he is the one who can make me laugh the hardest...especially when we make jokes about Mom (sorry Mom). For the past four Halloweens, my parents have always sent me a Halloween-themed box. But since this happens to be my dad's #1 favorite holiday, he's the one to fill the majority of the boxes with a bunch of things that my mom would either be completely okay with or frown upon (...or sometimes go unseen): decorations, obscure candy, and even tequila after I finally turned 21.

My Last Care Package

Whitney Lauren Han

Since I am graduating in June, this is the last care package I will ever get (as an undergraduate)—and it was a big one. Don't even ask me how they were able to fit all of this in one large flat rate box, because I honestly think it must have been sorcery. From left to right in the picture above, I put the items in order from Mom to Dad. Before taking this photo, I tried to guess as best as I could on which items were bought by which parent...and I guessed the majority correctly.

As you can see from the left side (Mom's side), there are my two favorite Korean instant ramen, microwavable packages of sticky white rice, packets of dried seaweed, Bali's Best Café Latte Candy, Milk Chocolate Moodibars, Ghirardelli squares, and a tiny pink wind-up pig (because Mom likes to send me cute things like that). The other things from the middle to the right (Dad's side) include a few unconventional, "outside of the box" items (I know, I'm a master when it comes to puns).

One might wonder why there was a stuffed rabbit included in the box, and there's a story behind that; the first stuffed animal I ever got was a stuffed bunny from a company called Jellycat, and I still have that bunny to this day. Whether it's on certain birthdays or any normal day, my dad (and occasionally my mom), would gift me with a different kind of bunny, but always from the same Jellycat company. I know that it might sound strange for parents to give stuffed toys to their 21-year old daughter, but it is meaningful to me and I know it's meaningful to them, too. 

Thanks Mom & Dad

tea, cake
Whitney Lauren Han

For the past four years, I've been receiving care packages from my parents, and every single one of those packages made me feel a little closer to home. Whether they have medicine, stuffed toys, alcohol, or candy, I'm extremely thankful that my parents put a lot of thought into each box to make sure that I would feel less homesick and more comfortable while going to college over 900 miles away from home.