I’ll be going home to the US in July for the first time since moving to Delhi. And while i’m not looking forward to the long flight, I can’t wait to see my family, eat some of my favorite foods (i.e. pho – vietnamese beef noodle soup – right off the plane), and do so many things I didn’t even know I missed.
Having moved abroad with my husband Evan, I believe I have for the first time experienced pure home-sickness for the US. When I lived in China and other places before, I always moved alone. Home-sickness and loneliness blended into each other so much, I didn’t know there was a difference. At first I thought I didn’t miss the US at all when I moved to India last fall. I missed people and things I loved (cheese!), but felt completely content and at home in Delhi. I was never lonely with Evan by my side, where I could always make the jokes I was used to making, or talk about things that only someone who had known me for years could have understood. Everyday in the middle of the chaos of life here, Evan was my home. I didn’t even know there was a difference between missing your family and genuinely feeling a home-sickness for where you were from.
The first time I felt it I was taking an evening train from Delhi to Chandigarh with a co-worker. While looking out the window she commented on how the night landscape, with large fields and patterned highway lights, looked like it could have been the US. It was an odd sensation looking out that window. I felt suddenly transported to a US interstate at night half expecting to see an In-and-Out neon sign come in view, only to look back at my samosa, chai and crowded train car. I felt disoriented and almost nauseated like being jolted from a vivid dream. It wasn’t my usual feeling of missing specific people and things I love, but a pure yearning to just physically be in the place that was so familiar, where every part of it – even a distant interstate – felt like a part of me I suddenly couldn’t reach.
So see you soon California. I’ll meet you on the 101.