The Crushing Weight of Homesickness

First, last Monday I published the inaugural post in my weekly Walk Around Marburg series with a promise to make it a regular, weekly thing. I’ve already screwed it up, I know. But working around not having Internet in the apartment (again) is so much trouble. I promise to have a new post about Marburg next Monday (I can promise this because it’s already done!).

On to the topic of this post: wine (but more importantly, homesickness).

For living in Germany for five months, I’ve luckily escaped the full force of homesickness. I’ve found that I’m never really homesick – or at least aware that I’m homesick – until someone asks me, reminding me that I’m thousands of miles away from friends, family, and normalcy. Of course that doesn’t mean that I don’t miss things from home! No,no I miss a lot of things about home: sunny weather, watching basketball with my mom, snuggling with my cat Julian, sweet tea and biscuits (Bojangles, anyone?!). But these are more like cravings that are brought on by a fleeting thought. Really Germany, another day of grey and rain? I miss North Carolina’s humidity. I don’t live with these things day-to-day. Germany has been great  and Germans so friendly. Germany is home and I am, for the most part, past making the comparisons.  I have no complaints (except the weather).

I was past homesickness. I guess that’s why this time, it hit so hard.

Cue Alice, one of my best friends from home. She recently relocated to France for a year which makes us neighbors! A couple of weekends ago she stopped by to  visit me in Germany. You know how most of the times you don’t realize how stressed out you are until you’re in the library petting a dog and suddenly sobbing? Just me? Well I had the same feeling when Alice was here. I didn’t realize how much I missed having someone to talk to about everything. How hard finding a job is. How difficult it is to learn a foreign language. How hard it is to make friends in a foreign language. How out of touch I feel with friends back home.

Stepping into the role of host and tour guide did a lot to further the notion of Germany as home – more than anything else has I think. It was nice to introduce her to my friends, the magic of small-town Germany, and the castle in my backyard. I didn’t promise endless entertainment or a week-long tour across Germany – honestly most days were really slow-paced – but just a typical week in my German-life. A wine festival with friends, petting cows, and spending rainy days watching TV.

It was during this week that I came to see how homey Germany has become for me and how magical everyday is and how comfortable life is. If anything this was the least homesick I’ve felt since being here.

reunited at weinfest

alice the kuh

garden conversations

baby cow visits

I held onto this feeling for a week, until Halloween, and then it hit me. Halloween, for the past four years at school, was a huge deal. We would spend weeks planning and creating an epic costume, all get ready together, and then parade down Franklin Street with thousands of other costume-clad, slightly-inebriated folks. Halloween in Chapel Hill is no joke. This year was a tame 32,000 people..

In Germany it’s basically the polar opposite – I was lucky enough to hear about a Halloween party at 6:00 the night of. So scrolling through all the excited Facebook posts and then having absolutely no time or materials to create a costume was a real bummer. And then the tears happened. Needless to say I spent my Halloween crying on the couch and watching Criminal Minds, definitely a first.

So in honor of this crushing homesickness that I’m just beginning to shake, here’s a picture from last Halloween on McCauley (tear) and an assortment of other gems – I can’t decide if they’ll help or hurt my homesickness, but I’m a sucker for nostalgia so enjoy!

halloween in CHill

mccal galz

Julian the cat

tarheels 2

grad dinner

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8 thoughts on “The Crushing Weight of Homesickness

  1. Awe, this was such a nice post. I feel you on having homesickness just hit you like a ton of bricks. I hope you have been feeling better since Halloween.

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  3. It is definitely those special days that can hit hard. I never thought I was homesick until I went to the grocery store last year to buy sweet potatoes and green beans for Thanksgiving dinner (which I was only making for myself and my boyfriend), and I couldn’t find either. I started crying in the middle of the grocery store and left with nothing.

    Anyways, here is to hoping you feel better now! And that you have plans to make nice memories for Thanksgiving and Christmas (are you going home for either?)! I haven’t been to the U.S. in about 1.5 years, so if you want a sympathetic ear that knows what you are going through, I am here!

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    • My Thanksgiving grocery shopping experience turned out exactly the same! I came home after the first shopping trip and cried because I found just three things from my list. I couldn’t even find sweet potatoes until day two’s second trip. I’ve learned a really valuable lesson from this though: never go into a Lidl if you’re looking for specific things. It’s a recipe for distress! Don’t even get me started on finding the Jell-O…

      I hope your Thanksgiving this year was less stressful! 🙂 Thanks for being a sympathetic ear. I’m sure I will absolutely need one as Christmas approaches…and I don’t get to go home.

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