Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Coming Home (Again)

Before Christmas I had been feeling homesick – really homesick. If you want proof, you can have a little read this of my ridiculous posting on sandwiches. The homesickness had clearly reached crisis level.

But what I found is that the only cure I needed was three weeks at home in New York over the holidays. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of things that I genuinely miss about my life in the United States, mainly the people – my friends and family – and pizza by the slice, and of course meatball sandwiches. (Mozzarella sticks also rank up there, but let's not go too crazy.)

I loved my time at home, but like any three weeks of my life there were ups and downs. There was exhaustion from jet lag, work stress (I worked from my New York office for some of it), and adjusting to my parents' love of a chilly abode. Christmas day even included a hearty snooze in my parents' walk-in closet, which to clarify for those English readers who have been asking me about it, is more like a little dressing room. But there was also lots of time to see – nearly – all of my friends and family based locally. It was truly great to be there for such a long time. I'm just never there long enough usually to actually miss London.

Which is what happened this time. I started yearning to go 'home', to get back to my own house (where I control the thermostat) and the air is damp enough that my hair has less static electricity trouble.

This is a recurring theme for me ('home' not static), and one that I've been thinking about a lot recently. Is it because I am approaching my 10-year anniversary of life in the U.K. in May 2012?

Perhaps. But what I decided this Christmas trip is that home is where your life is – and at this moment, for me, this is London.

So what is homesickness, really? Is it longing for home or is it just longing for life as you would prefer it to be? When I used to come to London for work, long before I actually lived here, I would fantasize about what life would be like living here. And it wasn't a complete picture of course, just a flashy image of an exciting ex-pat life, nothing like the rich complexity of life as it actually is, including the tough stuff. 

In that case, homesickness is probably just the common yearning we all have as humans for things to be easier and better, instead of focusing on the good things we already have.

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2 comments:

  1. 10 years!! No way!
    Love your blog, as always. Keep up the good work :-)

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  2. I know, right? Can you believe it was 10 years ago that we sat in your lounge and drank tea and talked about Wisconsin? If it weren't for you, I probably never would have stayed in the UK!

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