Homesickness. I feel it is only appropriate to mix the dichotomy of love I have for travel with my fierce missing of home. The common misconception of homesickness is that it is always shrouded in tears and an eminent desire to leave the place that you are in. I don’t have that kind of homesickness. I am nesting in Spain, certainly– I have purchased slippers, I’ve bought picture frames to hang on the walls, I have several home cooked meals stored in the freezer (these are obviously indicators of home for me–warmth, photos, and food). Yet, Spain still feels like a temporary adventure only intended for a year. With that being said, my homesickness has had a different face. Beyond missing family and friends, it is missing your favorite restaurant or even the occasional Raising Canes box with secret sauce. It is missing being able to call the lady who has done your hair for 10 years for an appointment. Of course it is missing watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with your mom as you cook dinner. It is also being able to use expressions like “make groceries” and “they live beside the levee” without the trouble of direct translation. It’s missing people that truly understand you to your core but also happen to be terrible international communicators and damnit it’s missing having your own car and being able to go as you please without following a metro schedule.
I have done fairly well with homesickness. The first time I was REALLY homesick was also on my first international adventure during undergrad. I was in Tanzania for a month and I remember mourning the death of a turkey in the yard that my house brothers killed in front of me. It did make a damn good dinner though. This experience is nowhere near as intense. I am older, more confident in my desires and my purpose here, and treating this as the adventure it is; but I can’t help the sadness when I miss my grandparents 66th wedding anniversary, when I want to see my brothers dog, and when I want to buy Duncan Hines cake mix for less than $7 (yea, that’s real life).
To compensate, I have developed several strategies!
-On payday I am allowed to buy at least two hard to find American foods (this month it’s a solid stack of Oreos and yes cake mix)
-I unashamedly Facetime my mother regularly
-If I don’t feel like leaving home because it means I will need to explain too many things in bad Spanish, well then I am allowed a Netflix and wine binge in bed
-And finally, I allow myself to be vulnerable and experience things as they come. Because that is the beautiful thing about opportunity and growth.
And when people ask, “Raven, what do you miss most about the US?” on December 3rd, I say “ABC family and Hallmark Christmas movies on at all times.” Because today, thats the damn truth.
And then I have also done some travelling, which doesn’t hurt at all (here is San Sebastian and Bilboa, Spain)