On being homesick

To preface this post: Over the years, I have rarely gotten homesick. Sleepovers, going to kindergarten, summer camp, going to college… I was always too busy having fun to miss home. 

Nevertheless, homesickness hit me in Paris recently.  And it hit me hard last week after my parents left. Throughout my time in Paris, I haven’t REALLY missed home, the US, or my friends and family. But, with the arrival and subsequent departure of my parents, I felt farther from home than ever before.

What is home?

“There’s no place like home!”says Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. Home is comfort, stability, familiarity, safety. It’s the people, places, foods, and customs that you know like the back of your hand.

For me, home is taking a running start and flopping onto my little purple twin bed. Eating my favorite cereal and leisurely reading the Sunday paper. Sneaking up and giving my parents a big hug while they prepare dinner. Watching the neighborhood dogs frolic around the nearby conservation land. Sliding around in socks on wood floors. It’s sunlight streaming through a window on a fall afternoon. The smell of burning leaves. The corny little things that are important to me, but insignificant to others.

Home is part of my identity. Maybe it’s not a place, but a state of mind.

There’s no real translation for “home” in French. They usually use “chez moi” to refer to “home.” However, “chez” can also be used in other contexts. Like, Je vais chez le dentist. (I’m going to the dentist.) How can a dentist possibly be connected with the idea of home?! Semantically, chez is more of a physical place or a destination than home. Kind of an interesting difference.

Paris is a temporary home. I feel settled and comfortable navigating around the city. It’s a home, but it’s not my home. I love the excitement of the city, the attitude of the women strutting in heels in the metro, the smell of freshly baked croissants, the couples canoodling in the public gardens. But sometimes I crave often-boring suburban Massachusetts.

Dorothy has her magic red shoes to transport her home. Come on, modern technology! By 2050, we better be using super-powered shoes instead of cars and planes. And they better be sparkly.

Anyway, I found that my homesickness has dissipated after about a week. Kind of like a nagging runny nose that you just have to let run its course. Yes, I did just compare missing my parents to boogers. This is my blog, I do what I want. Please don’t take tissue with my comment. (haaaaa jokes).

Cara soaking up the Paris sun

My bout of homesickness has cleared up just in time for springtime! So beautiful in Paris. Just check this recent picture taken in the Jardin de Luxemburg.

Happy Easter/Passover to all!

-A

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