Two years and one month ago, I wrote a post I called Fernweh (n, an ache for distant places). Now, it’s time for a follow-up: Heimweh (n, an ache for home).
I was living in China when I wrote that. When people asked me “What do you want to do?” I meant what I said: “Go anywhere but here. See the world!” And I have. Now, though, now I just want to go home.
I miss my family. I miss my car. I miss my culture.
Two years ago, I wanted to go go go and I’m glad I did. Now, I’m tired of packing everything I own into two large checked bags, a small-carry on suitcase, and a backpack. I’m tired of thinking “I have that at home…” no matter which home I’m at. I’m tired of hanging my stars up, only to take them down a year later.
I don’t regret moving as often as I have in the past three years, it’s what I wanted. But now I want something different.
I made it back to Ireland and, don’t get me wrong, I love it here. But I miss my home. I miss not being Different or The American. I miss my brother. I miss my parents. I miss that god-awful heat of summer, driving around with the windows down because my air conditioning is broken. I miss driving. I miss spending 15min in the store because I know what I’m looking for, what it’s called, and where it is.
Two years ago, I suffered from horrible culture-shock. I wanted to go home immediately. But I didn’t want to stay there. A year ago, I came here, to Ireland (which, if you’ve read Fernweh, you know was the goal). But only a few months ago did the culture-shock of living here start to settle in. I can tell you the moment it happened, too.
I came back from Christmas break, thinking “I’m going to miss my brother’s high school graduation.” That disappointment in myself settled in my heart. What kind of older sister was I, to miss such a big event? My family was coming to visit for his Easter break and the flights were expensive, so I wouldn’t be able to go home for a week for his graduation. It was too expensive.
Or was it?
The cost of missing his graduation was more, to me, than the cost of a round-trip flight home.
I didn’t miss his graduation, if you’re worried about that. I even managed to keep the flights a secret from my mom for a few months, my dad until the day of, and my brother probably figured it out, but didn’t say anything because he’s a good bro.
But in that moment, the moment when I felt so black in my heart at the thought of missing my brother’s high school graduation, I knew it was time to go home.
Not necessarily back to Kernersville, NC, but at least back to the Southern US.
As of this writing, I have one month left. I have a list of things to do, primarily
- Get a job (preferably one that’s PAID)
- Get an apartment (preferably one where I can have a cat)
- Get a big print of a galaxy and hang it up (along with my stars, of course)
No matter where I go now, I know I’ll be there for a while. I want all of my things to be in the same place as me again, not split between what I could carry and what I could leave behind. I want to buy another box of stars (bringing my total up to 3 boxes), hang them up, and leave them there.
For the first time in a long time, I want to go home. And I want to stay there.