I am, surprisingly, not. Or it’s not as strong as I expected it would be.
Now before all my friends think that I don’t miss them, I do. I miss you all tons and tons. And more tons. In fact, without all the people in my life, I *would* be quite homesick. I miss hanging out and eating and drinking and training and laughing with all of you. I miss a good cheeseburger with a glass of cheap-yet-delicious red wine from Trader Joe’s, or a glass of Bulleit on the rocks. I miss my dog quite a bit too. I miss training in my school, and my favorite bubble tea spot, and my favorite bar (I’m looking at you Bar Dobre!) I miss hiking trails in cool evergreen forests.
There’s things I don’t miss, but that’s not the point.
The point is that even though I truly do miss all those people and places and things, I don’t feel homesick, like I’ve felt it in the past. My prior experience with homesickness was when I was in Japan for 2.5 weeks or when I was in Spain for a mere 10 days. It’s important to note that those two trips occurred in 1999 and 2001, respectively, and in both cases I did not travel alone. About a week into those trips, both of which I have far surpassed in length at this point, I felt quite homesick; longing for foods and comforts and people who were completely and absolutely unreachable, at least without extreme cost or effort. You start wishing that the trip would end sooner so you can go home and eat a nice reliable slice of pizza instead of trying to decipher what kind of meat you’re about to consume, and that everything around you just made sense and you could understand what everyone is saying all the time.
But that is not how I feel here, in Brazil, surrounded by a language that is VERY, VERY slowly becoming …um… intelligible? (Is that even a word? I think it should be, if it isn’t. But I think it is. Anyway.) While I miss all that stuff, there isn’t that ache that I felt before. And I think that it is because of one, single thing that I have now that I did not have then.
And even though I am a huge proponent of the fact that Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other forms of social media have created a large and somewhat disturbing illusion of intimacy which I fear might change human connections in ways that are not totally for the best, it sure does for in a pinch when you’re roughly 6500 miles away from home and want to feel like your friends haven’t forgotten you. And I also get to share my thoughts and experiences back, and know that there are people out there in the world who are reading. It is these digital social interactions, via email, Facebook, Twitter, and text messages that are keeping what could be a pretty intense bout of homesickness well and truly at bay.