Let’s start off with…I’ve been baking. And if you know me, you know I’m completely against anything Susie Homebaker or anything that places me anywhere near a kitchen (unless it’s pickles, Chilli’s take out or Mexican food because all three of those are amazing enough for me to put my ridiculous feminism aside and step into a kitchen). I’ve had a pretty homesick week, enough so that I’ve been baking muffin batches and grilled cheeses to cope. Today, I had the closest thing to Australian mexican again and it was just as amazing, totally worth the ridiculously cold winded Canberra walk.
The reason that I never wanted to work with little kids at camp is because they get so homesick for their parents. During the one week (2007) that I actually did work with mini-campers for three days with Allie (the wonder woman of small children) and Mackenzie (the quiet but deadly counselor, you know…like the fart, but sweeter and wonderful) I had a camper who decided to save all her after-dinner snacks for her mother when she came to pick her up. After-dinner Rec time snacks include, but are not limited to; popsicles, candy bars, ice creams, gummies, etc. Needless to say by the night we could smell something funky and for the next three days I had to carry around paper and pen so that she could write to her mom whenever she got homesick, which was every second, of every waking day. So I’m not really into homesickness, nor do I know how to deal with homesickness in someone else, let alone myself.
Here’s the basic wiki blurb on what I’m going through:
“Homesickness is the distress or impairment caused by an actual or anticipated separation from the specific home environment or attachment objects. The term is in origin a loan translation of nostalgia, a learned term coined in Baroque period medicine. The Oxford English Dictionary describes homesickness as a feeling one has when missing home. Feelings of longing are often accompanied by anxiety and depression. These symptoms may range from mild to severe. Homesickness frequently occurs when one travels and may be exacerbated by unfamiliar environments or foreign cultural contexts. Homesickness is especially common in youth.”
I don’t like it. I’m a really independent, self-loving person. So much so that I tend to often put myself before others in almost everything I do. (It isn’t what Jesus would do if you must know). I also spend a lot of time on my own, but I ALWAYS see my parents once a week, usually Sunday. I have to go home and get that mom hug or that dad cheek kiss because my parents are the absolute best. They’re so good, that being in Australia in 2007 for three weeks was the longest I’ve ever been away from them. My ex-boyfriend in high school picked me up after Thanksgiving to spend some time with his family and I cried on the way there when I’d only be gone for 3 days. At camp, I used to cry in my bunkbed if I’d been away from my parents too long (and I was a counselor). My parents are my rocks and even if I managed to live alone in a studio all last year and cook for myself, and (not so much, I’m a dirty, cluttery pig) clean for myself, I still made a point to talk to my mom almost daily and see my parents on Sundays.
That all being said, I’m not good at being away from home. I have a home in one person here. But it’s not just about the home of people. It’s also about the home part of home. In Raleigh, I have a car. I know where my favorite coffee houses are. I could find the closest bookstore with my eyes, ears, nose and mouth blindfolded or covered. I know where to go out at night, where the best restaurants are. I mean seriously, I could be a Raleigh tour-guide, I’ve lived there practically my whole life and attended all four years of college there.
Here, in Canberra, I’m (fingers crossed) going to experience the most miraculous Tea house ever tomorrow with millions of teas to choose from and then progressively go there all the time. I don’t have a car, I take public transport. I walk to work. I live out of a suitcase. It’s just all very strange. But, one of my favorite things about all of this came from a conversations I had with one of my amazing poetry mentors, Dorianne Laux. She told me that sometimes you just have to completely immerse yourself in a new place and completely fend for yourself in order to figure out who you really are. While, I know this is true, it’s looking more like I’m a scared person, a person really scared of change in my routine, change of scenery and change of peace of mind. It’s been a full month (today) since I’ve arrived here in the great land of AUS and I’m still a bit scared and I’m still a bit nervous, but I think I’m making due pretty well. And I’ll be making due even better once I have a kettle of wonderful tea tomorrow and a few drinks in the city tomorrow night.
So, lookout Canberra, I won’t be homesick forever and I’m going to conquer your lush bush and kangaroo habitats and come out fresh like a twenty-two year old girl version of Steve Irwan, with a little less accent (or who knows maybe I’ll pick up a few g-day’s while I’m here).
Oh, and ps. I know this is the whiniest thing I’ve ever written and I think like this; sometimes it’s rad to be whiney and if you don’t like it then stop effin’ reading my blog.
I’m gonna whine all I want, WHINE WHINE WINE WHINE WINE WHINE. (and after that I’ll be drunk).