Monday, March 24, 2008


I used to think that homesickness was a passing ailment, something that could be overcome if you "stuck with it" or "just hung in there." Basically, that's what everyone tells you when you admit to the disease - and homesickness is just that, a disease - albeit more of the bacterial than the viral kind as homesickness can be cured. For me, I've reached a certain point in my bout with the illness. I've reached the stage where almost anything triggers a memory and the thought that homesickness is something that everyone can get past becomes implausible based on the fact that some are just happier where they came from rather than where they end up. The final destination is not always the best. It just sometimes takes new surroundings to realize that.

A jar of Nutella reminds me of a past lover from college, the smell of pancakes reminds me of breakfast at the Village Inn with my family as a child, sirens remind me of night in New York, and any long stretch of highway takes me back from the stretch of America between Oklahoma City and Lawrence, Kansas. Just a couple of days ago, I saw a canister of parmesan cheese at the grocery store and immediately flashed back to eating lunch with my best friend when we we were still in high school and every Wednesday was "Spaghetti Wednesday" in the cafeteria. We would never get sauce - just massive plates of plain, public school-grade pasta with parmesan cheese. How we survived off of that type of diet, I'll never know, but even eight years later, I still crave the stuff. Music is another inflammation of this disease, the pattern making no sense to anyone but me. Brazilian music reminds me of Scotland, French music brings back memories of New York while New York jazz takes me back to college, and lastly, just the mention of Johnny Cash makes me long for my parents - even th0ough I have no memories of ever hearing Johnny Cash before the age of nineteen.

And much like the flu, homesickness is a constant struggle of waiting for the fever to breakk, waiting for things to go back to normal. In this case, the cold wash cloth on my forehead is instead a plane ticket and the thermometer in my mouth is not measuring my temperature as much as it is my pride and not wanting to disappoint anyone back home.

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