Photos Courtesy of Ava Walker. Sophomore Ava Walker and her younger sister pose outside of their new home before the first day of school in the U.S. She and her family moved in Aug. 2019, but her mother had previously arrived a year earlier in Sept. 2018 to study martian seismology as part of her job.

Walker drowns out isolation of moving with audiobooks

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As she hosted a going-away party in Germany to see her friends for the last time, sophomore Ava Walker was overcome by a wave of sadness. Moving countries is not a foreign experience for her. From being raised in England, living in Germany, and to finally arriving in the U.S., Walker is exhausted from constantly packing up her suitcase because of her mother’s job as a seismologist.

During her transition from Germany to the U.S., Walker and her family stayed at her grandmother’s home in England for over two months due to visa complications. She spent days in a cramped bedroom, isolated and lonely with little belongings and no friends. To cope, Walker tried reading to deal with the isolation.

“I used to love reading, but it was difficult during that time,” Walker said. “I was in a small house with quite a few people, so there was never a place that was quiet. Even at night, I wasn’t allowed to turn my light on.”

Unable to read books like usual, Walker stumbled across audiobooks. They drowned out the commotion in the house, allowing her to peacefully listen to stories even in the dark. Over time, she fell in love with them as they continued to help her combat loneliness even after arriving in the U.S.

“Audiobooks provided some well-needed escapism,” Walker said. “Having someone read you a story feels nice and calming. It helps on bad and lonely days. I wouldn’t even feel bad sitting alone at lunch if I had a good audiobook.”

Today, Walker continues to use creative hobbies to cope with difficult situations when she is overwhelmed. Because of her mother’s career in seismology, a field with rare opportunities for a permanent job, the possibility of moving again remains probable, yet unpredictable. 

“It would be easier if we just knew what our future looked like, but I have to be prepared for all outcomes,” Walker said. “But I’m trying to cope and audiobooks definitely help.”

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