I am perhaps homesick. I’m not unhappy, but I feel that I am ready to go home.
I didn’t realize that Spain would be so . . . far. I figured, I go to school for months and months, or I go to Spain for months and months – there isn’t that much difference, right? But I hadn’t counted on the foreignness. I miss home food, and home assumptions and worldview, and home methods of interpersonal relations (which is to say, quieter ones). I miss church that isn’t mass and classes that have more discussion than lecture, and I miss the ability to be able to say whatever comes into my head (for while these things arrive in Spanish, or at least turn into Spanish, rather more frequently these days, I still haven’t a clue how one says “lime green hedgehog” in Spanish, and am not liable to learn, short of looking it up in a dictionary).

I miss home more than I ever did my first year of college. I’m not sure why that is; I certainly came here with more acquaintances than I had at Smith. Perhaps it’s the culture I miss, as much as any specific people, or perhaps I got lucky at Smith, or maybe I was just too busy, between schoolwork and an entirely new social situation, to miss home. But the fact remains that, so far as I can tell, having carved myself a niche at Smith doesn’t make it any easier to carve one in Spain; it just gives me more people and more places to miss. Which is not to say that I haven’t carved a perfectly respectable niche in Spain. But it’s still kind of rough around the edges.

This was the first year I wasn’t home for Thanksgiving. Similarly, I’ve always come home for Christmas, and I won’t be doing that, either. It’s odd to watch Christmas decorations going up, lights being lit, holiday celebrations being held, and to know that by the time I get home, it will almost be time for Christmas decorations to be coming down again (at least, if you pay proper attention to such things; I have no doubt that that awful inflatable reindeer on the neighbors’ roof will remain there long after I’m back at Smith). I know that family are coming to see me, which makes things better – but I still won’t be home. I can’t even really pinpoint what home is; it’s not a house, or even a place; it might be a conglomeration of people, and there’s something to do with food, although food can’t be a terribly important part of it, because dining hall food would be acceptable . . . I guess that it’s this whole batch of things that I miss, that are different, that are something or other.

I’m sure that my Spanish would benefit from more time in Spain. But I’m really glad that I won’t be here until June.



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8 responses to “Thoughts

  1. Homesick and Holidays…
    It will be good to have you home after the holidays, even though I’ve immensely enjoyed your postings from Spain. Until then, will wish you a Happy Thankgiving and a Merry Christmas. Your pumpkin pie piece inspired me to make some as well, which was well received at your Grandma & Grandpa Roberts for the Thanksgiving dessert. Thanks for sharing the motivation! Enjoy your remaining time in Spain, even as you look forward to New Year’s pork and sauerkraut!

    • Re: Homesick and Holidays…
      You too!
      I have been enjoying this last time in Spain. I think that Kona and I are going traveling the week before mom and Ike show up.
      I think it’ll be slightly late New Year’s pork and sauerkraut; I’ve tried to explain sauerkraut and just get blank looks from people. Of course, the fact that I hadn’t actually bothered to look up how to say sauerkraut until just now (chucrut) probably didn’t help.

      • Re: Homesick and Holidays…
        My Spanish teachers have told me that there is no word for sauerkraut and suggested that I call it sour cabbage (repollo agrio). My teachers are all from Latin America and were never exposed to sauerkraut in Latin America. The teacher whose boyfriend is from Lancaster County has been introduced to sauerkraut in this country.

        • Re: Homesick and Holidays…
          My suspicion is that even if I managed to describe it properly, they wouldn’t know what I’m talking about because it’s not a Spanish sort of food (though I don´t know why not. It’s saltyish and strong in the way that they seem to like).

      • Re: Homesick and Holidays…
        Fare well on your travels! As you know, my batch of pork and kraut lasts through most of January. There should still be plenty by the time you get home. How hard can it be to say “rotten cabbage” in Spanish?

        • Re: Homesick and Holidays…
          Quite difficult, actually. Because I can’t say “rotten,” and col, the only word I had that might be cabbage may also apply to other round green leafy things like lettuce and bok choy. And it’s always harder to explain something when you’re not convinced that the person you’re talking to is even aware of the concept you’re trying to explain.

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