They tell you you’ll be homesick and say that it’s normal, but they don’t tell you how peculiar a feeling it is to miss everything and be eight months away from a reunion.
Some people have told me that what I have is called “culture shock.” I guess it’s kind of true. I mean, I love every aspect of the new culture, and sure, the language barrier is hard but I know I will overcome it. I just wish I could bring some of home with me here. I miss watching television in English with my sister and mom, I miss going to football games, I miss ice in my water (surprisingly not common here), and I even just miss talking in English sometimes. Mostly I miss my family and my dog. A friend asked me if I had any pets in my new home and I could only reply “I don’t think I can snuggle with a turtle.”
There are some days that I wish I could go home, just for a minute. Yes, it’s hard. No one said it would be easy to pick up, move, make all new friends and start a completely new life, but there are those times when it is completely and totally worth it. When I understand a complete conversation in Spanish, I remember it’s worth it. When I cry in front of my host mom and she makes me tea and tells me that she’s playing the role of a second mom while I’m here, I remember that these relationships are worth it. When I can make a joke about my host sister in Spanish and my host parents laugh, it’s really really worth it! (She thinks because I don’t understand her sometimes I must be stupid- the other day she “taught me how to open an umbrella”).
I guess the moral of my story is, everyone experiences low times traveling abroad, whether they admit so or not. Some less than others obviously: you may only be missing Reses peanut butter cups or ice water! You may find yourself wanting desperately to go home. Just remember that the value of the things you learn far greater exceeds the pain of having to watch your favorite TV show the day after it premieres. The relationships you build with friends, host family, professors; they all make the homesickness seem small in comparison. Créame.