Somewhere-Else-Sick: Homesickness for the Wanderer

I don’t get homesick. I get somewhere-else-sick, sure. Heartsick, missing something  from my past, nursing a heartache. I used to think it was because I don’t think of myself as having a home, and even when I’m in the place I usually call home, I get somewhere-else-sick.

Lately I’ve stopped thinking of myself as lacking a home. This was originally because when I said it, it upset my mother. The more I thought about it though, I realized that it’s not exactly accurate. Sure, I don’t have a home, I have a bunch. I have a number of places where I’ve slipped into a groove of daily life. A number of places where I can scoff at the tourists. A number of places where I know how to have the “real” experience of the place, the thing that the tour guides and guidebooks try so hard to distill.

The trouble is, because I don’t have one single home, no matter where I am, a part of me wishes I was somewhere else. Most of the time I can stick to the moment, both temporally and geographically, but it doesn’t always work. Sometimes I have bad days. Sometimes I have homesick days.

Everything makes it worse. Things that would usually comfort me. Coffee, chocolate, sleep, drink, exercise. Everything reminds me of somewhere else, of people who aren’t with me right now.

Poffertjes in an international bakery remind me of a weekend in a suburb of Amsterdam, a previous roommate, a best friend.

Trying to explain the Easter Bunny to a bunch of kids who have never heard of it and couldn’t care less reminds me of every year I tried and failed to get my mom to let us make colored eggshells by draining out the egg first.

The interminable drizzle reminds me of a city on the South West Coast Path, a place where I got possibly the worst sunburn of my life. Any day it was sunny, that was reason enough to leave work for tomorrow and go to the beach, laying all day in sun soaked sand.

Speaking of sun-soaked sand, I passed a gelateria while I was out walking through the drizzle, trying to shake off my blues. Suddenly I was back on the Ligurian coast, sweating bullets and desperate for an ice cream and a cold beer, in whatever order they showed up. Never mind that the temperature here has been hovering around ten degrees Celsius.

From time to time, I have those days. A day where I feel like I don’t belong here, and know I don’t belong anywhere else. A day where I miss the places I’ve been rather than the places I have yet to go. I’ve been known to mope, and sulk. Eventually, though, I remember all the awesome things.

I remember the number of places I have couches to crash on. I remember the look people get on their faces when I get excited about seeing a certain food (poffertjes, for example; or stroopwafels; or tonkatsu) that doesn’t belong to my heritage, but doesn’t belong to the place I see it anymore than I do.

Eventually, after the moping and sulking passes (sometimes it’s a sign I need to phone my mom) I’m back to normal. Well, my normal, anyways.

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Comments
One Response to “Somewhere-Else-Sick: Homesickness for the Wanderer”
  1. Caitlin says:

    Oh hun. HUG!

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