Cultural Adjustment, Living Abroad, Student Life Abroad, Traveling

A Different Kind of Homesick

November 1, 2015

It’s been two months since I arrived in Firenze. PLP finished, I went on my first trip outside of the country, spent my first holiday abroad, and the semester starts tomorrow. And homesickness is hitting. But it’s not the normal kind of homesickness, where I just miss my family and my home. No, this is different, and a lot harder to explain.
The weeks of PLP finished, and I and three friends boarded a plane for our first trip outside of Italy. I was so excited to be going to Madrid, Spain, to experience another culture, food, and explore new museums and historical sites. I was excited to be going somewhere new and different than either home or my current home in Firenze. I was excited to be going on my first break from school. But for the first time, I was boarding a plane where my family wouldn’t be waiting on the other side, and that wasn’t something I liked.
Back in San Francisco I wasn’t exactly close to home; my family lived two states away. But that was okay. I went home for every break, always excited to get off the plane and see my family waiting on the other side when I hadn’t seen them for months. I was excited to go home for holidays and birthdays.
Yesterday was Halloween. While I haven’t spent Halloween with my family in a few years, this year still left me feeling homesick. Halloween has always seemed to mark the beginning of the holiday season. It means less than a month until my sister’s birthday, a month until Thanksgiving, two months until my mom’s birthday, then Christmas, New Years, and soon after, my own birthday. This is the first year in my life that I can’t be with my family for any of that. I knew that before I came here, that I wouldn’t be able to spend holidays with family, but that somehow didn’t feel real until yesterday, and now the homesickness is all too true.
I miss my family. I miss my dog. I miss my friends. I miss my church family. I miss my favorite art store, grocery shopping at Trader Joes, the Golden Gate Bridge and the beach. I even miss the fog, and public transportation. While it’s amazing to be learning a new language, and I get excited when I can understand what people around me are saying in Italian, I miss the simple act of being able to have a basic conversation with someone at the store or café. The coffee here is some of the best I’ve ever had, but I miss being able to go to a café and sit on a couch with my laptop and books for hours, sipping a giant latte. I knew the culture here was going to be different, and I was prepared for that. But I wasn’t prepared for the little everyday things that seemed so insignificant at home, but here I find myself missing so much.

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