I just wrote “I don’t get homesick particularly easily” and then I had to make good use of my backspace key as I realized that is probably the opposite of the truth. I get homesick super easily. I’ve bounced the words “I want to go home” around in my head countless times, even if I was at home. The words come so easily when I am uncomfortable wherever I am, be it a long day at work, at a good friend’s house filled with more good friends, out shopping, or even at home, in my own bedroom.
I think to me, “home” just means where I am most comfortable, and since I am uncomfortable in most places at least some of the time, I get homesick a lot. The first image that pops into my mind when I close my eyes tightly and wish myself “home” is the kitchen table at my parents’ house. My parents live in Wisconsin, the land of the long winters, and their old farmhouse is heated solely by a wood-burning stove located in the kitchen. So for most of the year, we gather around the stove and hover in the kitchen, the warmest room. I can remember us all standing around the wood stove, turning every once in a while so our backs were as toasty as our fronts, brushing our teeth. I remember being so short that my face was level with the stove, and to stand front-side-forward was pleasantly painful. I remember being a bit glad when, the next winter, I had literally “grown out” of that phase.
I’ve had two bolts of homesickness that struck particularly hard in the last couple days. One was while I was in the shower one morning. I had just run out of the shampoo I brought with me from the states, and it was my first time using the new shampoo. The new, sharper scent brought tears to my eyes, not because it was too strong, but just because it was so different. I usually have nothing but praise for my new life and the new things in it (“oooooooh, baby buggies!” “ooooooh, store-brand Nutella!” “oooooooh, cobblestones!”) but that damn shampoo caught me at my weakest, and all I wished for was my own shampoo. My shampoo. Everything was suddenly different and unwelcome for a second. I wished myself home, in my parents’ dimly lit bathroom, using my own, familiar shampoo, brushing my teeth with my beloved “cinnamint” toothpaste, and eating toast with butter, honey, and cinnamon.
It passed quickly, and I went on with my day, but the past couple of days, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my sisters-in-law who all came for Andreas’s birthday dinner and cake. I love my new family, and I really like that they’re all fairly close together, so we can all gather on a somewhat regular basis, but in the midst of the festivities, I felt a mist of tears cloud my eyes. I was having a lovely time, and felt so grateful for them, but at the same time, I felt a pang of “missing.” I miss my family. I miss us all being together (which hasn’t happened in probably at least……six, seven, eight years? It is really neat to have such a spread-out family, but at the same time, I’ve only recently realized what I’m missing. It was so lovely to have everyone gather as adults. I got to play hostess, and it felt so nice to be able to serve food in our own apartment and have people sit around in our living room, and I realized that I may never get to do that with my own brothers and sisters. Now that we’re all a bit older, we feel more like peers than we did when we were younger and five-year age difference was literally a lifetime. I’m very grateful for having in-laws that I get along with splendidly, and I’m ever-so-grateful for Skype and the internet, but I can’t help feeling like I’m missing something really neat with my own siblings, and every time I think of it the homesickness comes in waves. Emotional nausea, if you will. Heh.
But I guess I might as well be optimistic. We may very well all be able to reunite someday, so as far away as I feel now, I’ll just have faith that someday, we can all be together again and “hygge os” maybe even around that wood stove.
For now, I’ll make the best of my strong-smelling Swedish shampoo, and all of the wonderful people who are here with me.