“Who knows where love begins? Who knows what makes it start? One day it’s simply there, alive inside your heart. It slips into your thoughts; it infiltrates your soul; it takes you by surprise, then seizes full control.” This is a line from the title song of the musical Love Never Dies, sequel to The Phantom of the Opera. I personally love these musicals, but what’s interesting is how easily you can change the subject of that line from “love” to “homesickness” (take a moment to read it again like that), and even though it may not sound so great in the song, the meaning is still spot-on.
Before leaving home, some live in the delusion that they won’t miss home at all, while others know they will miss home. Either way, there’s no way for you to really understand what will happen when you actually leave, partly because different people have varying experiences.
For me, homesickness comes in bits and pieces. On a normal basis, I focus on going to class, seeing friends, time management, etc. I tell friends about home or message my sister or my dad even just to talk about ordinary, boring things in my day, just so I can talk to them. Sometimes I try to stay engaged in the present moment, and other times I imagine the next time I’ll see my friends and family again. You can continue in this way for a while, but you can’t go on like that forever.
You miss someone’s birthday, or there have been a few too many things reminding you of a friend lately, or (what just happened to me) you aren’t home for a festival/tradition that your family has celebrated for as long as you can possibly remember. And that’s when all the memories come flooding in, bringing homesickness in like a storm.
It hurts. A lot. In one moment, you couldn’t care less that you have midterms coming up because you need to give a few overdue moments to just be sad. And that is perfectly ok. If eyes are the windows to your soul, then crying is purging it. If people are really important to you, then missing them is honoring them. Emotions are not a sign of weakness because it takes great strength to accept and express them. We may have already been here a month, and it may have felt like an eternity since we have left home, but that doesn’t mean we’re past some emotional expiration date, beyond which being homesick is ridiculous.
Emotions, whether love or pain or joy, should always be expressed and treasured, not hidden or shamed. After all, without them, we’d be no better than Daleks or Cybermen from Doctor Who, right? Or we would be stuck surviving on “soma” like the people in Brave New World. Emotions should be as special to us as the people that we feel them for.
So let yourself miss home, and let your loved ones know you’re thinking of them.