I have never been so homesick. My past has been quite the contrary, actually, where I would pride myself on the fact that I don’t get homesick. I would attribute my homesick-immunity to the fact that my family lives all over the world, that we have adapted to ways of staying in communication and staying active in each other’s lives. Which is all true, but, homesickness has hit me hard these last few days.
Now, my disclaimer for this blog: I am fine. My purpose in writing this is not to make anyone (MOM) worry about me/us, but rather to be open and honest about our experiences here. I think there is value in being vulnerable and real, and painting a genuine picture of what is going on; rather than only communicating the gold-shiny aspects of our life here. So, here it is. The real picture of my life this week, and inevitably, the real picture of what Shaun has been dealing with this week too!
I know it is definitely due to a culmination of factors; it was just both of our birthdays, and we would have loved to spend them with no one else but family and friends back home…we don’t have a work schedule or work at all yet, this will begin next week but it has made for a lot of time at home and a lot of time for thinking…it is fall, by far my favorite season…college football has started…fresh hop beer is about to come out…it was my parents anniversary…my parents just visited an aunt and uncle we have visited for the last two summers…my sisters package got returned to her, after much anticipation from us to receive it…and, it is primetime for American politics, something we both love to follow and discuss. None of these individual things are bad, none of them are negative either (ok, except darn Australian Post!). However, the total of all of them, with a bit too much free time this last week, has left me longing for home and for family.
While I know what I can attribute the causes to, I too know, that things will change. That this will pass, and as I get more organized and engrained in work here, this will become my home. I am learning, whether it is through my own personal maturity, or just the passing of time, that there will always be a part of me that wishes I was surrounded by my family; I definitely didn’t feel this way as a teenager! I will always miss football games, Portland’s fall colors and crisp air, and enjoying a good seasonal beer with family and friends. But it is a balance, isn’t everything in life a balance though? I love to live in a new culture, to build the relationships that we are starting to develop here, to communicate in broken French and to constantly be a learner.
So, as a balance, there will be highs and lows, pros and cons, and advantages and disadvantages to whichever path or location I choose, and the reality of it is, I will always feel the tension of wanting the other side…wanting to be close to family when I am away, and wanting to be away and exploring when I am settled into life in Portland.
Well, there you have it, my most honest and vulnerable blog post that I have written. Please, dear friends, do not worry. I have a great support system here with Shaun and with other volunteers in our area, I am enjoying life, and running with goats overlooking waterfalls on my runs – – things are great here! I have just really been feeling the tension of missing home this last week, and wanted to share, openly, about my daily life this last week in Nkongsamba. I am excited to write again next week about my first week at my host organization and the community needs assessment Shaun and I are starting. Until then, enjoy a good football game for us, watch the Democratic National Convention, and, if you can get your hands on a good ol’ fresh-hopped beer from the Northwest, enjoy one for me.