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A Different Kind of Homesickness

by Breanna Booker
A Different Kind of Homesickness | AIFS Study Abroad

Being homesick isn’t what I imagined. To me, it hasn’t been the urge to go home or an extreme longing for the familiar. It doesn’t have me counting down the days until I get on a plane to leave. For a while, I didn’t even think it was there, because it came in a shape I didn’t know to watch out for. I always thought homesickness would find me whenever I’m alone and the sparkly newness of my new home had become the familiar. I thought it would make me want to crawl into my bed for days, with a tub of ice cream, as I’m calling my mom just to tell her that I miss her. It turns out, any premonition I had was completely wrong. I had no idea about the symptoms this sickness would bring.

For most of my trip, I have refused to claim that I was homesick at all, but lately I have understood it in a whole new way. In the beginning, it snuck in and I didn’t even recognize it, but now I know what it is and how to spot it.

This feeling has found me at the top of a mountain as I am taking in the most beautiful view. In moments in which I want to be no place other than where I am currently standing. Time and time again it has pummeled into me in coffee shops as I am relishing over the best coffee I have ever tasted. It hasn’t failed to find me in a room full of people as my stomach hurts from the laughter erupting from me.

It doesn’t keep me up at night wondering how everyone is doing back home. It breezes in with the wind that is rolling through the ajar window of a taxi, while I am in awe of my new surroundings. In the middle of seeing new landscapes that occupy every space in my mind, suddenly I think of you and I wish I could hear what you would have to say about this beautiful place that you have never seen before.

A Different Kind of Homesickness | AIFS Study Abroad

I feel homesick whenever I’m trying new things and I wish you could try them, too. I keep feeling this profound longing to share these once-in-a-lifetime experiences with you. The fact that you are missing out on all of this triggers the homesickness. My heart is aching for those of you who I call my home, because whenever I’m in the middle of any adventure, I can’t help but think of you.

I wish you could see the things I am seeing. If only I could have taken your picture when we first got to the top of that mountain, when you thought no one was looking, your eyes would be full of awe and your lips turned up into a slight smile.

I wish you could try every single one of my coffees, even though I would complain and say I want them all to myself. As I’m savoring the drink, I think of all the things I would give just so you could take a sip and taste it, too.

I wish you were there to experience the moments that words can’t even explain. Like the time I shared a laugh with a bus full of strangers all about to get on a plane. When I told you the story over the phone it just wasn’t the same. In that moment I wished I could have seen the way your eyes crinkled from laughing too hard, as they locked with mine.

A Different Kind of Homesickness | AIFS Study Abroad

I wish you could learn everything I am learning from the times that you have to be there to understand. What my eyes have seen that have changed my view of the world…I wish you saw it differently now, as well.

If you asked me if I wanted to go home, I wouldn’t, in a million years, say yes. What I want more than anything is to bring you here. No matter how hard I try to share these experiences, they will only ever be my memories. I can try to explain until there are no words left to say, but you won’t see them the same. I wish you could feel what I feel with each memory, too.

To the ones I love, I’m sorry, because I can’t hand these experiences over to you like a gift. Although, I’d search forever for a way to make them yours, they will only ever be mine. So being homesick isn’t at all what I thought. It isn’t wishing to go home, it’s wishing you all were here.

This post was contributed by Breanna Booker, who is spending her study abroad experience with AIFS in Athens, Greece.

A Different Kind of Homesickness | AIFS Study Abroad

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