Friday, October 22, 2010

i guess that's why they call it the blues...

Forgive the Elton John reference. I've been listening to his greatest hits album this evening, so I guess you're forced to deal with it.

Deal with it.

I've wanted to write a post about homesickness for awhile, but I thought it would be better to wait until a time when I wasn't actually homesick...but then Amber went to the mall with the ladies (apparently the national pastime of Saudi Arabia) and now I'm at home alone, with little to do and plenty of time to think. So maybe I'm a teensy, weensy bit homesick. Which got me thinking...what exactly makes me homesick and what am I homesick for?

I haven't really gotten homesick a whole lot here...and I've found that to be pretty weird. I usually get homesick a lot when I'm away from home. When I was in France in college, my house mom literally told me I talked on the phone too much. In a way that some might call pathetic this was to my parents, not to my friends that were actually in France with me. But here, not so much. I can really only think of one time that I've gotten seriously homesick and that was pretty recently after we arrived.

The epiphany that I've had about being homesick is that it happens naturally. We as humans love routine and familiarity. So when we're suddenly tossed into new surroundings and around new people, we immediately reach for anything that is familiar. For me, having mp3 players and facebook has really changed being homesick. I think I try harder to hang on to the familiar things because I'm talking to buddies from home all the time and listening to the same music that reminds me of family and friends. For instance, Oasis makes me think of my brother, My Morning Jacket (no, those fireworks weren't planned, the Titans won. yes, it was amazing) makes me think of my brother-in-law, and Brand New makes me think of my sister. (In a related note, Fallout Boy also makes me think of my sister, but I didn't want to embarrass her...oops.) I used music and the internet as a crutch to keep myself from really experiencing this new place that I'm in. However, I wasn't able to suffer for long though, because I got to bring home with me. I know this sounds absurdly cheesy, but having Amber with me has made this transition so much easier than it would have been alone. We have some friends and colleagues here that came alone and I just don't understand how they do it! Not to mention the fact that Amber doesn't let me sit and sulk. She hates that. So that's what makes me homesick...just the sitting and thinking.

So how did I get over my homesickness? Well, Amber prodded me until I got out of the house and actually started to do things, for one, but the big thing was just getting to work. As soon as I got to work and started making plans, I was okay. Keeping my mind busy and investing myself in meeting my colleagues and students has made this transition so painless. I love the people I work with, and we have started having people over for dinner, going to church together, and generally enjoying each others' company. My soundtrack has changed, too. I listen to a lot more of the music that really just makes me think of me: Laura Veirs, Aloha, and Fleet Foxes. Sure, I still get a little homesick, but I'm dedicated to my job and my students here and that keeps me focused. It keeps me Saudi Arabia (Psst...IT'S STILL WEIRD THAT I LIVE IN SAUDI ARABIA...but let's just keep that between you and me).

So yeah, things are going really well. I feel totally adjusted and the only real challenges with living here are not having a car (I'm looking at a Volvo tomorrow...exciting, I know) and dealing with some unruly 8th graders...which is pretty much what I signed up for, so that's my fault entirely. What's that? Oh yeah, I forgot to mention what I get homesick for. Well, you know what they say, a picture's worth a thousand words.

Yeah...I get homesick for that.

Vicariously yours,

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