On Being Homesick When You Can’t Go Home

The week ahead is full of good things for me. The Home Office has taken money out of my bank account, which means that they received my new visa application and it’s not sitting in the back of some mail truck somewhere. My birthday is on Friday, and Valentine’s Day is on Sunday, so lots of celebration to be had at the weekend.

But (there’s always a but), this means that I don’t have my passport to travel anywhere (as it’s sitting in the Home Office) and my birthday coming up means that I am unashamedly homesick. It’s almost not even the fact that I want to go home, but the fact that I can’t.

onbeinghomesickwhenyoucan'tgohome
I haven’t been to America in over a year now, and the last time I was there it was for two weeks and I spent half of it with the flu. The time has flown by, but I don’t usually like to go this long without a visit and I think I’ve only gone this long without visiting one other time.

Being homesick as an expat is a difficult thing to navigate, especially when I’m not from a country where I can just hop on a plane for 2 hours and be standing in my parent’s driveway. It’s a long trip and a lot of money each time I go. My fiancé is of course supportive of me visiting whenever I get the chance, but I don’t want to spend too much time complaining to him how much I want to go “home,” because it seems hurtful to tell someone you’ve settled down with that you want to be somewhere else!

It’s also hard to figure out where “home” even is. When I complain about being homesick to him, he obviously thinks that my idea of “home” is America. Whereas my family actually in America think that my idea of “home” is England.

Well, guess what, it’s both! And it’s neither! And sometimes it’s one, and sometimes it’s the other. I used to think that part of being an expat was figuring out where “home” is, but I’m starting to get the feeling that it’s really about being flexible and accepting that multiple places can be “home” at the same time.

Home is my childhood town. Home is the hill where my fiancé proposed. Home is the train I take into work every morning. Home is the walk I used to make to school when I was 10. Home is my best friend’s house. Home is England and Florida and everywhere and nowhere.

So in a way, it’s impossible for me to go home (and not just because I don’t have a passport at the moment). I can’t go home because I am home. Home isn’t a place, but an appreciation for the place I’m in and the people I’m with.

That being said, I would pay good money to get on a plan to America right now so passport, PLEASE COME SOON.

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2 Responses

  1. I can absolutely feel you on this one. We haven’t been back to the States in over a year since moving to Copenhagen. I have been trying very hard not to call Oregon home and trying to instill in the kids that right now Denmark is home. It doesn’t alleviate those “homesick”
    feelings always. We’ve got a visit planned for summer and I am curious if it will abate the homesickness or make it worse upon our return “HOME.” Cheers from Copenhagen!

    • girlgonelondon says:

      It’s so hard, isn’t it! Hope your visit this summer is amazing — I actually have found in my experience that visiting “home” from abroad is SO amazing the first few days, but by the end you are then reverse ‘homesick’ for your new home that you’ve established a life/routines in, so maybe it will be the best of both worlds for your family. 🙂 Have a great weekend!

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