11 May 2012

HMGRPH :: thoughts on homesickness & happiness

This post probably should be called "Why I have the emotional maturity of a five year old." But I'm in a sour mood, so hmgrph seems to be the extent of what I'm capable of. I'm so sorry.

There's really nothing for me to be upset about. See? Look, here's what I am doing RIGHT now. Coffee, toast, sunshine, balcony. Beautiful, right? It's the absolute perfect temperature outside, about 70F, with a slight breeze. I can see the Japanese mountains in the distance (I should really learn the name of that range), and there are white puffy clouds in the sky. I have plans for a girls' night tonight and a BBQ tomorrow.

HMGRPH. There I go again, almost pulling myself out of my bad mood. Stupid gratitude and 'admiring the moment.' Let me stop so I can at least tell you about my problem before I go forgetting about it. You see, I'm about to take off for a couple weeks. Heading home (!) to see family (!!), including a very special cousin get married (!!!). I'm so excited. While I won't be hitting up Seattle, I'll be making my way through Chicago and South Carolina and back, and I plan to eat, drink, and be merry... and see a dentist, a dermatologist, perhaps get a Hep A vaccine*, and definitely get my hair did. Holy crap, it's going to be awesome.

Amos, however, must stay here. In Japan. To bring home the bacon and such. I'm super bummed he can't come, but... perhaps... it's okay that he isn't coming... because it's a huge incentive to come back to Japan. Right now, three months in, an incentive to come back could be good. I'm, gulp, kind of over living abroad.

Sheesh, I know, I know. It was a dicey time to book a trip home. Three & four months in is tough. I've been busy putting myself out there, learning, exploring, making friends. I'm finding myself fed up with things, annoyed that I don't have a job, fucking bored with my life, on edge about things that no one in their right mind should be on edge about (something about the limitations of a robot vacuum. Shit, I KNOW). I'm been mum about it on Jackson Riley because I like to write about things shortly after they happen, when I'm safely on the other side, and I've been focusing on clawing my way out of this homesickness bit.

Whew: It actually feels good to put it down on paper. I know I'll come out the other side, fine and dandy, and probably loving Japan. Today... I'm not quite there yet.

I'm a bit conflicted and, with my emotional maturity, that translates into me acting like a five year old, mad at the sun for waking me up, made that coffee takes so long to make, made that my husband can't read my damn mind. I want life to be a video tape, where I get to push the fast forward button. I'd check on the future, make sure everything turns out okay, then I'd skip to the part of living in Japan where it's all fun and games. I'd jump right over this part, the part where I worry that leaving right now will impair me from ever adjusting to life here, where my days are filled with the super fun combination of doubt and anxiety, where I'm not busy enough yet to keep my idle hands from clawing my eyes out. I'm scared that a trip home will not be a rejuvenating experience but instead make me realize that I'm not happy here, that I would be more happy somewhere else. It's terrifying, if we're being honest.

To help assage the fear, I bought a new dress or two. Meh, it made sense at the time.

I've realized over the past couple weeks that I'm writing a blog that I WISH I would have found while looking to live abroad. One that showed me what life was really like, showed me that I could DO this thing. To that goal: this is what life is like right now. I'm conflicted and anxious, so excited to go home, yet not ready to leave, and aching to make it through this not-so-fun stage. I'll come out fine the other side, that I'm sure of, and it'll be okay. Until then, you can find me here, on my balcony, drinking coffee next to my on-life-support geranium... or in Chicago, drinking a cold microbrew or two... or in South Carolina, lounging by a pool. I'll let you know when I reach the other side.


*For future Southeast Asian travel. Again, my life is pretty good. I should STFU.

UPDATE: So... my sister called me after this post to make sure I'm okay. Two things learned: my sis is super sweet, and I, perhaps, didn't caveat this with the note that the homesickness and worry pass in and out, like a wave. I don't feel like this all the time. There are still great moments, often 3.5 seconds after I feel super overwhelmed. I'm not unhappy -- just a bit worried and homesick -- which is different. I wouldn't have known they were different before I moved over here, but now I do. (Learning!) Most days are good; I don't regret coming over here; I'm not unhappy by any stretch of the imagination. True, some days are boring, and some are difficult, but some are awesome. I'm keeping my chin up, don't y'all worry.


  1. whew, glad Meg called because I was about to. Good luck with the homesickness- at least you realize it comes and goes. I sometimes feel that helps: even though you can't shake yourself out of it at least you know you just have to hold on for a bit, acknowledgement always seems to make it go faster (I hope).

    Super jealous Chicago and South Caroline get you. HMGRPH to that from this end.

  2. I laughed at your comment "I'm writing the blog I wish I would have found.." Me too.. only my version is someone telling me what to do next and giving me a list. I love lists, especially when I am so overwhelmed that my brain has shut down. I so love your posts - you are right, you need to hear what it is really like, that it is completely shitty at times, but that it does pass, and it also can be incredibly fun. Once the grumpy bits pass..


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