I’ve always found ‘homesick’ to be an annoyingly broad term. The definition of homesickness from Wikipedia is “the distress or impairment caused by an actual or anticipated separation from home. Its cognitive hallmark is preoccupying thoughts of home and attachment objects.” The problem with this is that it doesn’t define ‘home’, and this is where my issue begins.
‘Home’, as a concept, is usually associated with a place that holds with it a sense of permanency and occupation. For me however home is much more about a feeling, a sense of belonging, the people, the three of which I rarely get simultaneously.
From when I arrived in the United Kingdom for the first time in my life last July, I felt at home. Despite having never been anywhere near the UK, I felt a sense of familiarity, of warmth and comfort, of simply being somewhere I didn’t have to worry or fret. The further north I traveled, the more this feeling grew. I have the same sense of home now. I’m still learning my way around, remembering the currency, and struggling to understand particularly thick accents, and yet I feel as though I’ve returned home. So, for me, the UK (especially Edinburgh), holds the feeling.
In comparison, the people remain firmly back in Australia. My family, family friends, A’s family I’ve adopted as almost my own, and of course A, are several thousand miles away, and with them, home. I am a firm believer of the phrase ‘home is where the heart is’, and part of my heart is with those I love the most. I miss them. I miss being able to visit A at his computer. I miss ‘family’ dinner with his parents and sister. I miss their dogs. I miss being able to call my parents without wondering what time it is. I don’t miss the place, not even the things people said that I would miss like gum trees and magpies and flocks of screaming cockatoos. I just miss the people.
As for the sense of belonging, I haven’t quite worked that out yet…
So I don’t know if I’m homesick because I feel simultaneously at home and far, far away from home. No matter what though, I know it’s all worth it.