The only cure for homesickness is being home.
When I have been overseas I have missed the most mundane things — Australian voices on the radio, knowing the latest news (even if it is depressing), wide open spaces, clear blue skies, my cat, my loved ones.
When my family moved from Warrnambool to Mount Gambier I missed my best friend Sucheta, and our little weatherboard house and the familiar houses on Banyan street, especially the one I always wanted to buy (nowadays I’d happily buy any of those houses). I missed Big Ms and Chittick’s nibble pies and my grandparents and my school.
And when I moved to Adelaide from Mount Gambier I missed my church and the youth kids and my awesome job and my teachers. I missed fish and chip shops (I couldn’t find a good one), I missed my family and doing silly things with my brothers, like the time Matt and I shared a hoodie because they only had one in stock and we thought it would only be fair.
Then I started teaching, and I kept having to leave Adelaide. The first few months were worst. I missed my gym and my friends and my little share house and proximity to Stephen (sigh) and the beach.
One night when I was living in Pirie, my friends came up for the weekend. As I lay in bed I sobbed and sobbed. It was crazy stupid, how could I live so far apart from the people who loved me the most?
I guess sometimes it’s easier to love and live apart than to never have good friends at all.
It has been easier since I’ve been back. For one thing, I haven’t been overseas for a few years, and for another, the number of things I miss is much fewer. But sometimes I feel really lost. I saw someone from Mount Gambier the other day. I didn’t know them but they had a MG top on so I knew they were from there. What was I going to say though? “Hey, I’m Lisa and I’m uh, kind of from Mount Gambier. Which high school did you go to?”
“Mount,” they would have said, and then we would have nothing in common.
For my first year back in Adelaide, well meaning people would introduce me as “This is Lisa, she’s from Kadina.”
“I’m not actually from there,” I would mutter.
“Well, that’s where she was living before,” they would say.
“Ah! I know Blah Blah from Moonta Bay. Do you know them?”
End of conversation.
When you’re not from somewhere in particular, it can be hard to form connections — the who it’s not what you know, it’s who you know game. I have never earned a job this way — I am very much an unknown entity which is sometimes great but mostly frustrating. It makes it hard to reach out to people. “Look, you don’t know who I am, but…” as opposed to “I went to school with your daughter and my mum remembers you from Easter camp years ago.”
Some of us don’t have that luxury, but it is a blessing to be homesick for beautiful places you love and places that love you back.
Until next time, someone please courier me a fresh Big M. (UHT milk isn’t the same.)