At 10, I went to a sleepover at my friend Amanda’s house. I cried so late into the night that her parents called my parents to come and pick me up.
I remember thinking I looked REALLY cute in that shirt.
At 13, I went to sleep-away camp. I was a basket case for the entire five day/four night session, and though I begged my parents – via phone calls and letters (which they didn’t received until I’d already returned home) – to retrieve me, they “made” me stick it out.
Yes, those are the largest glasses on the planet.
At 18, I moved away for college. I cried for WEEKS, and made plans to transfer back to the University of Wisconsin in Madison the following semester. Luckily I eventually overcame – thanks to my very patient mother and incredible roommate, Melanie – my homesickness, and decided to stay at the University of Iowa.
No one looks good when they're wearing overalls and crying, right?
At 23, I moved to Cedar Rapids, IA to begin working for the American Red Cross. I only cried for a week or two before I bounced back and started appreciating my new job, new city, and new fiancé.
At 25, I moved with my husband and two cats to Ann Arbor, MI so he could begin graduate school. I DIDN’T CRY AT ALL, PEOPLE. I couldn’t believe it, and quite frankly, neither could my mother. I was still homesick though – Tom was meeting lots of new friends at school, and since I didn’t start working for the Red Cross in Ann Arbor until we’d be there for a couple of months, I was very lonely (thank goodness for our cats and the Taste of Home cookbook that kept me company) for quite a while.
At 32 (and 10 months ago), I moved with my husband and two kids to College Station, TX so my husband could begin a new job at TAMU. Once again, NO TEARS. And this time, though I missed my family and friends, I wasn’t lonely.
I’ve been hit, somewhat unexpectedly and rather brutally, over the head with a bout of homesickness. It has to do, at least in part, with the arrival of fall (well, the arrival of fall according to the calendar – here in Texas we’re still a couple of months away from fall-like weather), which is my favorite season and during which nearly all of my favorite holidays take place, sports are played, and activities are available. It also has to do with our recent trip north for the wedding of our friends Mitch and Jess. The trip was amazing, flawed only in that it served as a reminder of what we’re missing – more frequent get-togethers with our families, as well as with our friends and their families; actual seasons (there are two seasons here: summer, and slightly-less-hot-than-summer); greater diversity of people and ideas; pedestrian- and bike-friendly cities; and University of Iowa tailgating – now that we’ve landed in Texas.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not unhappy here. While still a bit foreign, College Station has quickly become home thanks to our persistent efforts to put down roots, Tom’s great job, the kids’ wonderful school, and new-but-already-surprisingly-good friends for all of us. I have no doubt that in six or so years, when we’re moving on to Tom’s next position (if in fact we decide to move on from College Station – I suppose it’s always possible that I could learn to love this weather), I’ll be writing about how terribly sad we are to be leaving our life in Texas.
I’m just frustrated because I thought I was out of the woods, that I’d finally outgrown my bouts with homesickness that have – at their worst – paralyzed me into seclusion and caused me to miss out on the excitement that accompanies new experiences.
The good news this time around is that I’m older and wiser. I know that this too shall pass, and that seclusion only prolongs the homesickness and isolation. I know which daily activities make these feelings worse, as well as which daily activities lift me up and improve my mood. And if all else fails, I know I can call my mom.