As humans, we crave intimacy – whether it’s from our family, friends, or lovers doesn’t matter. Having many intimate connections and suddenly being uprooted from them can be traumatic for those that are mentally unprepared or lacking in a support network in their current location.
As someone who has gotten used to picking up my life and moving it to another country, I stopped thinking of individual places as home. Instead, I began viewing home as where my friends and family were. However, I am now faced with having my family in Singapore and my friends scattered between Singapore, Rochester, and many other places. In a way, I’m homesick for a place that, by my own previous definition, doesn’t technically “qualify” as my home. I’ve asked myself on many occasions, “how is this possible?”
If you read one my previous articles, you know that I love U of R and miss it. However, what I’m talking about right now is that I miss its people more. Not just the people that were there last year, but every person I made a meaningful connection with the five years I was there. I also miss everyone that I grew up with at Waldorf and it’s so strange seeing some of the younger people I saw growing up so quickly. In a way, everyone goes through what I go through when graduation rolls around – I just think I have to do it more often than most.
The most difficult part of moving is saying goodbye, especially to your best friends. A much younger version of myself even attempted a long distance relationship because of my own reluctance to say goodbye. I’d like to say that it gets easier as you get older, but in fact, it doesn’t. You never know what you’re going to say; you don’t know if you’ve said enough or if words are even necessary. Sometimes a hug, a squeeze of a hand, or a kiss is all you need to do to say farewell. You are most definitely not going to be able to say goodbye to everyone you want to say goodbye to; don’t worry though – eventually you’ll realize that that’s okay.
Fortunately, with the growth of the internet and with services such as Google Voice, Skype, Facebook, email, all instant messengers, and blogs, staying in touch is much easier and cheaper to do than it was in 2005, when I left my first international home to come back to Singapore for National Service. Of course, these are poor substitutes for actually being in the company of someone, but until inter-continental teleportation or something similar is invented, they are much better than nothing.
After much thinking, I think I should reconsider my own remade definition of home and go with the old cliche (cliches are born for a reason, right?): home is where the heart is. If you allow the cheesiness to continue for a moment, a small part of what I call “home” is in each of you. If I think of it this way, I will always be slightly homesick depending on where I am…but I’m okay with that. Travelling is great, but being with friends is even better. The best? If friends could come with you everywhere. That would be awesome.
(Photo credit: Siilin on deviantART)