“The mistake is thinking there can be an antidote to the uncertainty.” – David Levithan
Okay, so the truth is most days I’m extremely extremely extremely (you get that the emotion I feel is extreme, right?) grateful to live my life the way that I do. I love being able to focus on being a teacher while I’m in Venezuela and being able to focus on being a person while I’m home because it feels less like I’m compromising. For example, whenever I feel guilty that I’m not at home for every single event, I remember that honestly, would I really make it to see my niece every Wednesday if I were teaching locally? Would I really still go out with my friends every Friday night? The answer is, unfortunately, probably not. Would I still get to do it more? Yes. Would I be incredibly stressed at every event? Most likely yes–especially during-the-week events. That being said, this past weekend was an incredibly hard weekend for me to be away.
Every holiday, no matter how insignificant — sorry Valentine’s Day — is hard to be away from home. But to top it all off, it was my oldest friend’s birthday (hi Steven!) and two of my very best friends, two people that have truly taken me in and made me a part of their family, got married on Valentine’s Day this year. Granted, they just signed the paper and it wouldn’t have necessarily been super exciting of a process, but I still would have loved being there more than anything. I wish that I knew how to combat the sickening loneliness and the exhausting guilt of being away from home for important occasions (don’t even get me started on how I’m going to feel if my sister has her child right after I leave), but I have no suggestions. Right now, my main strategy is to overcompensate with work and/or to take a nap. Both of these work pretty well for me, but it’s still hard.
The feelings always pass and the next day is always better, but it’s still awful. Then, to top it all off, I feel guilty for not being completely in love with my life every second of every day. I mean, hello, that’s impossible Lauren. Still, I feel badly about it. I have chosen to take an incredible, amazing, life-changing opportunity. I’m learning a second language. I’m meeting new people. I’m gaining incredibly rewarding and insanely marketable experience. I’m also 2,362 miles away from my home. I’m 2,300 miles away from my family, the vast majority of my friends, and the people who made me who I am. My mom doesn’t always pick up the phone when I want her to, probably because she’s living her life. My sisters’ kids are increasingly developing into who they are, and I am missing it. It’s difficult not to feel shitty about that.
All of that being said, I believe that I’m supposed to be here, in this place, with these people, doing this job. Ninty-five percent of the time, I believe that with my whole heart. It’s just the other five percent where I miss my people and my dog and being able to actually buy everything that I want at the grocery store that I feel uncertain. All in all, those are pretty good odds.
What are your go-to cures for homesickness and how do you cope?