Sneak attack home sickness

Safety Beach

Sometimes homesickness feels like getting stabbed in the chest.”

That’s a direct quote from me. But let me be very clear – I wrote this in a highly emotional moment when I was throwing the dark thoughts out of my head so I could rid myself of them. I’ve also never been stabbed in the chest and in reality, can’t imagine it would feel similar.

What I was referring to is the homesickness surprise attack. Because when I return to Austria after a few weeks in Oz, or when I wave goodbye to my parents at Vienna airport, or when I get off the phone from a friend enjoying their warm summer on the other side of the world, I expect the homesickness. And because I’m expecting it, and I’m ready for it, it doesn’t seem to hit as hard. I can have a cry, I can get a hug from hubby, or I can sniffle a bit and remind myself that this was my decision.

‘Sneak attack’ home sickness is the one that stabs you out of the blue.

It doesn’t necessarily manifest as homesickness, but more of a feeling that you’ve stepped off a cliff, or into deep water when you can’t swim, and you’re suddenly flailing around or falling when before everything was perfectly fine.

It’s the ‘suddenly being out of your comfort zone’ when in another place you wouldn’t feel that way.

It’s the third time you ask someone to repeat what they said and you still don’t understand them.

It’s feeling like a meek mouse amongst a crowd of foreign-speaking people.

It’s crying on the way home from the supermarket because you misunderstood something inconsequential.

It’s abruptly needing a hug from your mum.

It’s the lump in your throat when you see a Facebook memory and the sudden longing to go back to that time.

It’s a scene switch in a movie that plays in your home town.

It’s hearing exciting or upsetting news from home and realising you can’t be there.

And sometimes it’s for seemingly no reason at all.

And what do you do with this homesickness? You swallow it down. Because people would think it weird, if out of the blue you announced you were homesick. Where did it come from, they would wonder? So you swallow it down. You behave ‘weird’ for a time, you cry or get angry or irritated at something that normally wouldn’t set you off, or you lash out at your loved ones for seemingly no reason.

And then… you move past it. You remember that you’ll be ok. That you’re one of the lucky ones. Sure, you know it’ll stab you again sometime, and you’ll act all weird again, but since you can’t prepare for it, you’ll dry your tears and let the clouds part again.

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