Today as I left the apartment, I accidentally let the door slam behind me. I winced automatically, having been trained since a young age to never let the door fall shut and to courteously hold doors open to those walking behind me. Also hearing the sound of a door slam shut is never pleasant.
I thought about leaving. Today was also the first day that waves of homesickness crashed relentlessly over me. It started when I was drinking my morning coffee (side note: I realized that by filling my thermos with coffee, I actually drink more than two cups of coffee a day… thankfully I don’t think the coffee I drink is too strong), an instant kind that Jin brought back from Bolivia to give to me as a post-missions gift.
Then it started. To be honest, I almost teared up – almost because I didn’t actually tear up, so I didn’t even get to that point of almost crying – but I just thought about how much I miss having her as a roommate, I miss her little quirks and the ways she took care of me.
From there, everything I saw reminded me of someone. Wearing my jean shirt and yellow cardigan reminded me of Justine. Videochatting with Micho reminded me of.. well, her. Hearing Ellie Goulding play in the store reminded me of Lizbeth and Esther. Reading Eminem lyrics in the book I was reading reminded me of Joe (also a Harold Bloom book, which is a less absurd connection).
But tonight, I ventured out into the neighborhood. For the past few days I’ve been spending my nights inside, because I’ve had things to do and emails to respond to… but tonight I decided to be adventurous. I know it sounds silly, but I was nervous taking those first steps outside… I’ve never enjoyed the nighttime because of my tendency to think about worst case scenarios, and adventuring is hard for me, so this was already a big step, even though I only went three blocks north (and half a block to the right).
I found, though, a local gem of a bookstore. Yes, it was incredibly hipster inside… Moleskines and Herschel backpacks offered as merchandise… but I felt like I was returning to old friends. I just finished the book I was reading, so I had a good excuse to browse through titles. I definitely want to apply for a library card though…
Rather than seeing all these reminders of home as reminders that I am far away, I choose to look at them as reminders that home is a place I can take with me wherever I am.