I remember very clearly the first time I understood how it felt to be homesick.
I was sitting on my little single bed, in a rather empty, large and lofty room, in my new flat in Verona. I think I had probably been there a few weeks, and so would have begun to settle into my new routines and daily life, and so I didn’t expect it at all.
But sat on that little bed, I was sticking photographs up on the wall, and hearing only Czech being spoken around me in the apartment 90% of the time, and it just hit me like a train. I felt lonely. I had made new friends, sure, and I was definitely having a good time. But that evening, sat alone, in a room with no familiar decor or anything familiar, looking through photos taken with my family, my friends my (then-) boyfriend… it creeped up on me.
And the thing is is that I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t having a bad time. In fact it was the opposite. Every night when we tried a new bar, I was excited to get ready and go out because when you move to a new city, everything is exciting! Learning what types of drink you order pre-midday and those that will merit you a funny look after 6pm… learning which crowds cling to which parts of the city. Everything is new, and it’s like being a baby all over again in terms of you learn everything over again, but this time you get to choose so much of what you do.
Despite all of that, I felt homesick. I don’t remember who I called but I imagine it was my mum or my boyfriend. I don’t remember the conversation or how I was consoled, all I really remember is how I just realised, quite suddenly, that I really felt quite lonely.
With hindsight, I can see why. Moving to a new city/country is freaking amazing. For all the reasons above and for at least 1000 more. But it’s also overwhelming. And I suppose after the hustle and bustle and settling in of the first few weeks died down, I was left feeling a little deflated maybe. The dust had settled and so had the quiet (with Czech in the background).
So naturally, I would turn to someone to talk about it, but I didn’t feel like my friends from home or university would really get it because my Instagram was full of smiles and nights out and new faces, and neither did I feel close enough to those new faces to speak about it with them. Luckily those new faces became some of my best friends.
So there I was, sitting on my bed, I think there was a candle burning, and I was trying to brighten those plain white walls, when I just started to cry. But I was okay – in fact, more than okay. Homesickness doesn’t always mean you’re unhappy, sometimes it means you’re just far from home.
Have you experienced homesickness before? When have you felt homesick?
Love, Chloe xx