Homesick at 11 Months

I’m sitting at my kitchen table with a pile of Mangoes I bought for the equivalent of one dollar in front of me. The Lumineers and Coltrane are playing and I’m wearing a onesie at the frip which probably was originally sold in America. I have electricity and running water (today anyway). I could probably be in America. But I’m not. And I can only think of home. It’s almost Flower Day at the Eastern Market. I’m thinking about how I missed Easter (actually I forgot and was sick anyway). I’m thinking about how my niece can walk this Easter and she will practically be a teenage by the time I get home. I remember how my mom and I would eat lunch together twice a week last year at this time. I miss yelling at my mom to go to bed while she sleeps on the couch almost every night. I can smell the cider and pizza at Motor City Brewing Works.

My family

Home sickness sneaks up on me like a bad hangover or a sneaky case of stomache bacteria. I woke up with the best intentions, put on my running shoes and even left the house. I got to my local call box (for those of us without cell phones) and turned right around and went home. Being homesick is a lot like the classic symptoms of depression. I start telling myself that I have no projects going on, that I’m not a good volunteer. I will want to spend all day watching American TV shows (Entourage or The Wire anyone?) or sleeping. I don’t feel like cooking. Most of all, I don’t want to leave my house.

All of these behaviors are counterproductive. In fact, after I told myself that I have no projects going on and I’m a bad volunteer, I made a list. I have 9 projects of activities in the pipeline this month. That’s not nothing. And even though I punked out on my run this morning, I am going to make myself do a quick indoor workout tonight. No. Excuses. I obviously need the endorphin boost.

I’m lucky because most days I am so amused and full of happiness. I left Michigan at 18; I’ve been gone a full 6 years now. The truth is I only have one friend there Being home can be more lonely than being in Cameroon where I am a total outsider. When I’m home I spend a lot of time in my mom’s robe or with family. Maybe this is the beginnings of a yearning to plant some roots? I traditionally only went home 2-3 times a year. But I still miss my people who are spread out all over the world. The one’s who have known me before my travelling days.

My people

Before I came to Cameroon, I Skyped with Julie and alum of my school and PCV in Ukraine. She told me that I would have bad days, weeks, even months. Well, my bad month is here. When I feel like this, I remind myself that even bad days happen in America and it’s part of the game.


5 thoughts on “Homesick at 11 Months”

  1. Awwwwwww…… (I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that pic of you, Megan & Erica… I think i might have taken it? ) You’re doin’ GREAT, Elise! I have so much respect for what you’re doing, because I know I could never DO IT! (Welllll.. MAAYBE?? But I don’t think I’d even consider it because I never had a choice! I became a momma! & THAT was MY ‘scary choice!’) 😉 It wont be long, & you’ll be back here with all of your knowledge & wisdom from living abroad & actually giving perspective to those who’ve never left! & THAT’S GOOD! What you’re doing is GOOD! (Maybe not good for EVERYONE… But for you, & WHO YOU ARE… It’s what MUST be done!! LOL) We all LOVE YOU & Miss you! & even if we’re not right there to hug you & tell you it to your face, PLEASE remember this when you’re falling into the abyss of depression!! LOL (omg, kidding, I’m so KIDDING!) YOU’RE DOING GOOD!! & THANK YOU!! What I’m trying to say is, It takes a VERY special person to DO what you’re doing! It’ll be over soon enough. xoxox Love you!

    1. Aww thanks Shawn, Things are looking up. I’ve gotten approval for a new project. I think You can’t enjoy the up’s without having some down’s. Time really is flying though. Hope all is well on the home front.

  2. Your life is an inspiration to me. I may end up doing Peace Corps. some day. And that line, “The truth is I only have one friend there Being home can be more lonely than being in Cameroon where I am a total outsider.” Because you are at home while abroad. I know the feeling when you are out there, the world is smaller. Not just because you are traveling and having a great time and seeing all those things you yearned to see. Even when the travelers sickness hits, you look at your near empty bank account and you yearn for the comforts of home and the people you miss, you would still rather be abroad. Coming home is totally lonely. Last year when I got back from Peru, I went to a wedding and reconnected with friends that I had not seen in about ten years. Then one of them was in Portland and we hung out there. As I was considering moving back home to denver, the presence of this friend was part of my decision. Portland was getting old and the friendships I had there were not as strong as I needed at the time. So part of my decision to take the school program in Denver was based on this. I moved in September only to find out that he moved to Iowa in August. All that said, I still got a chance to transform denver, from a place of home and teenage memories to an adult home. I transformed my relationship with my parents and now that I have set all that right, I know that I will be spending at least the 3 of the next four years abroad. The Wayward pack can be lonely at times, but the road is wide and full of friends.


    P.S. I know you don’t need this anymore cuz this post was many months ago and as I look at this comment now, I think perhaps it should have been an email, oh well I am gonna post it anyways. Also it was good to have recently become friends outside of wordpress. Thanks to Christine.

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