A fellow au pair friend of mine asked me the other day if I've felt it yet, the ever ominous homesickness. I started my reply with a "Well..."
There are phases one goes through, I think, when moving out of the metaphorical birds nest and then there are completely different phases one goes through when moving across the world from your metaphorical birds nest. By accident one time I routed myself to 'home' in google maps without realizing that I hadn't changed the home to my Paris location and so this screen popped up saying "can't find a route to this location". It took me a while to realize that the home was my old college address in Westwood, California. Anyway this isn't the moment that homesickness hit me. In reality I don't think it has yet, I'm still discovering... well... everything really. Who I am without roommates, what my interests are, how to be fully responsible for myself. These are things I thought I grappled with in Undergrad but you don't get a diploma for life when you get your B.A. I'm realizing. I don't think it will come with the M.A. either.
So, has the homesickness hit? No, not yet. Not to the extent where I'm crying and watching "How to be Single" and "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Sex and the City". I'm not curled in bed with that cliché bottle of wine just yet. But I can feel it coming, the moment where I'm going to need to process the fact that I'm not returning to the United States until August 2017.
I know I can feel it coming on because every once in a while I'll think of my brother, often the memory that comes along is of our last weekend together. A truly grand and spur of the moment adventure where we started off with just a truck, two siblings and a country playlist. We picked directions, left or right, when we reached stoplights and ended up in Big Bear.
When I think of this memory I see him, traversing through a riverbed like some mountain man explorer explaining to me how one could tell it had once been a much larger riverbed by the cutouts the water had made in the sand and by the presence of sand. I think also of being in the bed of trunk while he drove down a dirt road, I think of the excitement in his eyes and the sound of his voice, I don't hear him sound carefree often so I remember classifying the tone of his voice in my mind. I remember eating the famous bacon wrapped shrimp at Murrey's Bar and seeing the house he once lived in when he was 18 years old and I remember driving home the next day and thinking that I didn't want to leave the States now, that I wished I'd been more realistic with my qualifications when I applied for Doctorat programs.
And now here I am, in the library in Reid Hall in the sixth district of Paris. Typing this on my iPhone with tingling fingers because I've still yet to buy gloves. I think right now homesickness is coming in humps. I think that's how homesickness is going to be for me this year, it will be like I'm surfing, I'll be sitting like a buoy on my lime green board waiting for my left and the pangs of homesickness will come, like the rolling humps you get before a set is about to break and then as the pocket appears on the wave I'll catch it and it'll be like nothing can touch me and then the ride will be over and I'll have to wait out the set and fight through the inside to get to the place where the waves break.