People keep asking me if I am homesick. I bristle every time and generally ignore the question (if this is you, don't feel singled out…you're in good company). I know, it is silly, and my reaction petty; it is just a simple question…isn't it?
It is a loaded question. It is leading. What if I say no, I am not homesick? Does it mean that I don't love the asker? Does it mean that I don't miss the semi-stable parts of my life in Oregon?
The very fact that this question annoys me endlessly is interesting as well. Why is it so irritating? And WHY does it put me on the defensive?
After some thought I've come up with one word: perspective. I perceive the question as coming from a society/culture that emphasized rootedness above all else, a value that I don't seem to share. To me homesickness implies looking back, lamenting on what was, or might have been, like I am missing something, or worse yet, that I have abandoned something. A betrayal. The very nature of the word annoys me, sickness: a derangement or illness. Something wrong.
So no, I am not homesick and in this moment I don't feel the least bit deranged. I desperately miss my friends, and family. I miss spending days digging in the dirt tossing offending insects to my chickens, leisurely afternoons with my pals and even my produce guys at Rosauers who never seem to mind checking the cooler for a fresher whatever it is that I am after. I miss walking around town and knowing every other 3rd person, dinners out with friends and my fantastic book club ladies. I really miss the babies who have been/will be born while we are away. Surprisingly, I also miss the tears that have been shed in my absence. I miss not being there to bring food, lend an ear or provide a welcome distraction to my loved ones who are struggling with a loss. I miss running on the Old Highway near our house, breathing in the fantastic views of The Gorge, mountain biking in the evenings with friends and our weekends kiting waves at Newport. I miss Yuzen. Just about every aspect of my life at home is of my own choosing, so sure I miss the shoes that I stepped out of when we left Oregon, those cute strappy little numbers that would be completely out of place here on the Dark Continent. But I still can't say that I am homesick.
I will say that living in the past obscures your view of the present moment. We have all experienced this at some time or another. So as much as I miss what was, I don't want the past to diminish my experience of what is. This is Africa, a world away from my America, so I need to keep my eyes and ears open. I don't want to miss a beat. I am a stranger in a foreign land, but I am here, now and very much a part of this moment. I draw comfort from my past as well as the present and what happens today forever changes our tomorrow. The idea that home can be here AND there simultaneously means that now isn't an either or scenario. I don't have to choose. The question of being homesick implies that I miss there while I am living here and that simply isn't true. Right now, in this moment, I am ridiculously happy. I get to spend every minute of every day with the man I love. How can you not be present?
Ok, done ranting.
Loving you big time,