With no compulsory courses this block, I made the impulsive decision to head home. Home-home. Back after a year and two-thirds, some things need getting used to again. It’s a reminder of what I’ve missed, and why I left.
The opportunity to visit home had been playing hide and seek with me for quite a while. Something or the other always seemed to stand in the way. The trouble was that as the time went by my homesickness worsened, keeping in step with the sense of alienation from home. I eventually caved.
As far as the homeland was concerned, I might just as well have returned from outer space. A steady, year-long diet of directness, washed down with the pragmatism-filled waters of Old Grunn, has meant that I’ve needed to receive a few awkward lessons in cultural rehabilitation. The food has mercifully eased the process.
The biggest challenge, however, has been being thrust back into the patterns of an old life. The obligations that come with living with family tend to chafe against the independence and self-reliance that student-life cultivates. A sort of confusion has set in- I can hear it in my mishmash of an accent- and there’s no clear way out.
As far as the homeland was concerned, I might just as well have returned from outer space
But even that’s a bargain when compared to the flipside of it. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen my parents as glad as when I met them at the airport. Being in the physical presence of people you love is worlds apart from calling every now and again. It’s made the weight of all the birthdays, anniversaries, sicknesses and troubles that I’ve missed all the heavier.
That’s the part nobody tells you about- the strain that being away puts on your relationships back home. Sure, we can all rationally comprehend that the separation won’t be particularly pleasant, but it’s another thing to really feel it. It’s enough to make you ask yourself if it was worth it at all.
That might just be my flair for the dramatic talking though. Truth is, I had to leave at some point. There was a primal need to be my own man, and leaving home was part of it. Besides, I’ve experienced a totally new life, and have met lovely people that I now miss. None of these are lesser things.
Was it rash, selfish and painful to leave on some vague principle? Yep, definitely. Am I thankful that I did? Without a shadow of a doubt.