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Monthly Archives: December 2009

…I wrote this:

There is a thing such as homesickness. One may not believe in it for a long time, over a decade in fact… but it most certainly exists. Knowing that it is Christmas Eve and you haven’t had any eggnog all season, or listened to Bing Crosby sing any carols, or seen any of your good friends home for the holidays, or even kissed your mother and said “I love Christmas”… this is homesickness in essence. It isn’t truly wanting to be home, and really, there’s nothing that special about it- it’s just doing nothing or something other than what you want to be doing and being prevented from doing what you really want to be doing not by time or money or other people, as is usually the case, but by place. It is knowing you are in the wrong place for what you want to be doing, and wishing you were in that place so you could do what you always do. It’s wanting to be home not because you like your home, but because you do things at home that you cannot do in Mazatlan or Bahrain or even the next town over from your home.

Perhaps most people are more attached to their family members, to their friends than I. It’s strange to think that because so many people are important to me, to the extent that I would donate a kidney for them and I would let them call me at 3 am if they thought it was important enough to wake me up. But up until now, I have never been homesick. Most people, especially children, get homesick at least once before they really leave their parents for good. I witnessed many children at summer camps and sleepovers being homesick, and for me it was much like my relationship with shyness- I could see it happening to someone else, I could recognize it, and I knew what its effects were, but I honestly could not understand it. Shyness is still beyond me. I truly couldn’t do it if I tried. But homesickness, I begin to understand. For children, it is the fear of the unknown. If something goes wrong, they can’t run to their mother to save them, and they feel very alone and unsure, which isn’t a nice feeling. They cannot run for the familiar help of their parents if something is wrong- place prevents it. It’s another thing that they cannot do not because they don’t have the time or money or because their parents don’t have the time or money, but because they are not home.

And as children get older, they don’t need to run to mommy. The fact that they can’t get their parents to solve their problems becomes less of an issue, because they find that their parents can’t really solve their problems anyway. They may fear the unknown, but their parents couldn’t save them even if they were at home.

And so children grow into teenagers and adults who don’t get homesick so much. But there are certainly things that can bring it about once again- a crisis, Christmas, food that has the same name as it does at home but really isn’t the same. You wish you could have a hug, you wish you could see your family and wish them a Merry Christmas in person and sing “Break Forth” the way you always do, you just wish you could get a damn milkshake that tastes right. And you know that you can do none of these things, because of place. Again, it is the problem of place. You are sick for your home because you are not there. And so you realize that at some decent hour today, you must call home. Because certainly you cannot cure your homesickness- being in the wrong place- but you can do something to assuage it. You can call and listen to home, whatever that happens to mean. And maybe you will still wish you were home, but you will feel better knowing that at home, everything is the way it’s supposed to be. Knowing that maybe home changes too, but in the important ways, it is still the same home you left. And with that, you can enjoy the experience of being away from home and wish everyone else a very merry Christmas and happy new year.