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Wish you were here (notes on homesickness)

Hey nearest and dearest pals at home — I miss you. And I wish you were here.

Last weekend my sister graduated from college and I missed it. My brother has apparently had a girlfriend for months and I just found out about her. My closest friends are moving through exciting times in their lives — birthdays, new jobs, relationships, nights out, new apartments — and I’m missing it all. It’s official: I’m homesick.

I knew this would happen. I knew I’d get lonely and miss my people and have moments where I wanted to give it all up and go home. Colorado is an amazing, beautiful state filled with in-your-face opportunities for adventure and a healthy lifestyle, and I wake up happy as a clam/freeee as a bird most days. No matter how great it feels to be living my own life in a new exciting place, though, it’s always hard to be away from home when you love your home as much as I love mine.

10155530_2207765881151_7435794831027691747_nWhen I decided to move here, my mom was pretty upset, because there was a chance that I could move to Colorado and meet someone (or just really like it) and then never come back. She was worried that I would move to Colorado for good.

Would I stay here? Is Colorado my new semi-permanent, indefinite home?

So far, I think I’ve spent my 4 months away from Philadelphia pretty well, with lots of trips and laughs and adventures and little secrets I wouldn’t want my parents to know about.

But when I’m really homesick, I think about what I would do if I could go home: how I would go visit my grandparents down the shore, how I would watch Jeopardy with my family at precisely 7pm on weeknights, how I would go find that boy who I can’t get out of my stupid head after all this time. I think about the things that made up my high school years, the summers in between college, the roller coaster years since I graduated. These are the places I’ve made memories with the people I love the most, and these are the things I melodramatically yearn for when I’m having a lonely day in Colorado:

  • Seeing my family everyday — watching mindless HGTV shows with my mom and bike riding with my dad and having snippets of actual conversations with my brother.
  • 10603241_2309319099918_9033460495144671891_n431143_1728512180108_2057241320_nHanging out at the bar I can walk to from my house, where we had “our table”, where the bouncer knows our names and where it feels like a small high school reunion every Saturday night.
  • O’Neills Market and the big pickle jar — and how they’re always out of soft pretzels, and how they have the best damn potato salad ever.
  • Rita’s. Water ice in general… people out here have no idea what they’re missing out on.
  • Late night drives with that one good friend or by myself, through nearby towns along winding and hilly “back roads” — to Hatboro and Huntingdon Valley and Southampton and Warminster and Richboro and all the way out to New Hope and Buckingham and over the river to Lambertville, blasting country music and dodging deer and rabbits in the dark.
  • 483150_1705180556832_1036973566_nGoing to the high school marching band field in the middle of the night with James and whoever else, talking about life and boyfriends and writing and probably Europe.
  • The one telephone pole that reminds me of a friend’s brother who passed away after a drag racing accident years ago.
  • Walking in massive teenage herds from Lisa’s house down to the tot lot playground with Slurpees & Arizona iced teas in our bathing suits and towels. 229721_1003340891279_5616_n
  • The sneakers hung on the telephone lines at the end of my street.
  • Standing in the cold or rain or blistering heat at the Glenside train station for whatever city rendezvous we had up our sleeves that day.
  • Obligatory Wawa runs and jamming candy into our bags before going to the movies.
  • Being in walking distance to my best friend’s house.

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  • Stopping at Bryn Athyn Cathedral every time I pass it, just to park and walk through the grounds real quick, snap some pictures and head on my way.
  • My sister.

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  • The constant sound of lawn mowers and kids playing outside in the summer. Thinking back now in my nostalgic homesick state, it almost feels romantic. Trashy neighbors & all!
  • Day trips down the shore, visiting my grandparents or eating shitty food along the Ocean City boardwalk with high school friends.
  • The Fourth of July — nowhere does it like Glenside.269495_1418067059174_5185467_n
  • The creepy guys who work at 7-11, but how I don’t really mind them that much because they always give me gross free pizza that seems sooo delish after a few hours at the bar.
  • Walking to the small patch of woods behind my house in the winter when the trees are bare, navigating through the dark to find the big flat rock, and looking out at the Philadelphia skyline.225715_1020096110149_3400_n
  • Climbing all over and through the big cheese on the GW playground, and how only people from home know that this sentence actually makes total sense.
  • Front porch sittin’. Though the house I grew up in is less than 3 miles from the border of one of the largest cities in the country, our little neighborhood feels safe and friendly and is booming with kids running in the street. Watching thunderstorms. Sitting with the late great Jeffrey.
  • Driving down to Boathouse Row and the art museum steps really early on Saturday mornings by myself and taking in my favorite view of Philly.

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One New Years Day 2012, my dad and I went for a freezing cold walk in Pennypack Park — three days before I left for my semester in London. He probably doesn’t even remember the conversation, but I asked him why he never left the Philadelphia area — the place where he was born and raised, and the place where he continues to work today. Didn’t he ever want to see other places?

He said his whole family lives in Philadelphia, and after awhile you realize it’s not where you go that matters, but who you’re with. I guess after a couple of jaunts around the world, I’m finally starting to agree with him.379907_1533572146729_1210844327_n

Something’s happened since I moved to the west. I’m more confident, healthier, generally happier, and I have a lot of time to myself to explore. I’m trying things that scare me every day — today at the gym I was doing pull-ups and lifting weights… WITH A BARBELL. LIL OL’ ME. I KNOW.

I’m nowhere near ready to go back to Philly yet for good, but I’m getting a tiny bit older now, and I’m starting to watch my friends get engaged and married and pregnant. I should probably work on getting a boyfriend first, but when I picture my future, I always see those big life events playing out back at home. Coming to Colorado was a necessary move, and I know if I were still at home I’d be drowning in stagnation/going crazy over the stirring of my soul. Colorado was the right decision for me — I really dig it here, homesickness and all.

In the meantime, pals, I’ll say it again: I wish you were here to see Colorado with me. Come whenever you want, seriously. Like, tomorrow works for me if it works for you. And I guess if I really really need to, Denver’s airport has plenty of flights leaving for Philly every day… who says you can’t go home?

How do you deal with homesickness?

Other posts you might enjoy:
Where to go from here / Quitting is for champs / For this I am grateful / Creating time wealth /A day in Philadelphia!

And some somewhat relevant songs that have been giving me the feels lately:
Home — Ingrid Michaelson / I Will Be Found — John Mayer / I Hold On — Dierks Bentley / Streets of Philadelphia — Bruce Springsteen / Homegrown — Zac Brown Band / Sirens — Pearl JamHome — Dierks Bentley / Constellations — Jack Johnson / Meanwhile Back at Mama’s — Tim McGraw / True to Myself — Ziggy Marley / Dancing in the Moonlight — King Harvest 

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23 Comments

  • Reply Hannah Myer

    I love everything about this post (especially cuz I can pretty much walk down memory lane with you). Hometowns are precious things, and you are so fortunate to have one filled with so many good memories. I love you tons.

    May 14, 2015 at 7:13 am
    • Reply Kristen

      Love you and our Abington (& non-Abington) mems!

      May 14, 2015 at 4:55 pm
  • Reply beckyabb

    Hang in there! As exciting as moving away can be, it certainly has it’s moments of sadness and nostalgia, but like you said–home is just a plane ride away. And the memories you make now, I’m sure you’ll never regret.

    May 14, 2015 at 7:58 am
    • Reply Kristen

      Thanks for your words of encouragement 🙂

      May 14, 2015 at 4:55 pm
  • Reply Laura (PA Pict)

    Homesickness is so hard. After 19 months of living in America, I still feel like a fish out of water – like the alien I am – but the moments of pining and yearning are becoming less frequent. “Home is where the heart is” and I’m living here with my husband and kids but some days it’s still hard. It’s funny you mention O’Neill’s Market because that’s a place that’s been helping us stave off some of our pining as it has a display case containing British food. My husband clears them out of salad cream every few weeks and they even had Irn Bru (Scottish soda) for a while. So my message is this: it gets easier, you find coping strategies and you know that “home” is always there waiting for you to either visit or return.

    May 14, 2015 at 10:35 am
    • Reply Kristen

      You really know O’Neills?? The little market in Keswick in Glenside? That is CRAZY! And yep, I can’t wait to visit home in a few months !

      May 14, 2015 at 4:56 pm
      • Reply Laura (PA Pict)

        Yes! Although it’s not our nearest station, my husband drives to the station at Glenside in the mornings to travel to work in the city and on his way home sometimes he stops in at O’Neill’s for soft pretzels for the kids and to raid the British food section.

        May 14, 2015 at 5:06 pm
        • Reply Kristen

          My closest station was Ardsley but we usually went to Glenside because so many more trains go through there. That’s awesome!!!

          May 14, 2015 at 5:08 pm
          • Laura (PA Pict)

            That’s precisely his reckoning. He never knows when he’s going to be setting out on his way home so it gives him more options.

            May 14, 2015 at 5:13 pm
  • Reply My Homesick Fix

    Love this post! Really gets down to the most difficult parts of being away from home. Something as simple as seeing Jeopardy on TV, like you said, can hit you in the pit of your stomach. It’s a very powerful force. Thank you for sharing with us and please if you have time check out our site (www.myhomesickfix.com) and share some of your feelings on homesickness. Our goal is to help people alleviate some of their homesickness. Thanks again!

    May 14, 2015 at 11:05 am
    • Reply Kristen

      Well thank you very much!

      May 14, 2015 at 4:57 pm
  • Reply shmamyhopf

    aw i didnt even see this before I tweeted. i got my own bullet and two pictures!!!!!!!!!!!!! great blog post btw

    May 14, 2015 at 11:35 am
    • Reply Kristen

      Girl you killin it in this post. You have a great blog too. See ya face in 2 WEEKKSSSS

      May 14, 2015 at 4:57 pm
  • Reply Mollie Simon

    Love this post so much! And love you!

    May 14, 2015 at 3:28 pm
  • Reply Nancy

    A heartfelt post. Spoke to me as well!
    I too moved away (across the nation, like you) and followed a fabulous man to Arizona.
    He is my soulmate but I do miss family and close friends. Sometimes I wish I could be there for all those small things… coffee at Starbucks, bike ride in the metro parks, glass of wine with friends at the local wine cellar. But what I miss the most is cooking a big meal for my two boys and their sweet hearts on a Sunday afternoon.
    I do get the treat to go back often… so that is wonderful. This summer I will get to do lots of those things I am missing right at this moment!
    But guess what… when I am there… I miss this place my new home ARIZONA! I should be so happy that I have both places to come home too!
    Thank You for making me write this all out as now I know how I am feeling!
    Great Post!

    May 14, 2015 at 11:45 pm
  • Reply Margie

    We are missing you at home too! Like you said, it’s the small things. I miss having you motivate me to go to the gym (I don’t go nearly enough)! Miss watching Jeopardy with you, and Daddy telling you to “shush”, miss watching movies with you, and House Hunters. Just miss having you around! Love ya!

    May 18, 2015 at 10:35 am
    • Reply Kristen

      I don’t miss him telling me to be quiet. He needs to LET ME LIVE MY LIFE

      May 18, 2015 at 11:08 am
      • Reply Margie

        I just meant during Jeopardy! LOL, shush!

        May 18, 2015 at 11:26 am
  • Reply Léa

    I never really embraced the concept that one could miss the place where they were from. That is until I first visited France and found where I belonged. That six short weeks flew by. I returned to California, sold my house and moved home to France. While waiting to return, I understood homesickness! I have no desire to be anywhere else. Yes, I’ve been to other parts of Europe, around the states, Canada, Mexico and southeast Asia. But nowhere came close until now. Now I belong.

    Thank you for choosing to follow one of my blogs. I hope you continue to enjoy the posts.

    June 14, 2015 at 3:58 am
  • Reply Postcard from Colorado Springs | skyward eyes

    […] I love Colorado. I love the people, the lifestyle, the weather, the mountains. But like I said a few weeks ago, even though I love being on my own and living through new experiences, it’s always hard to be away from home when you love your home as much as I love mine. […]

    July 13, 2015 at 11:58 pm
  • Reply She won’t make it 6 months | skyward eyes

    […] more hiking and my appreciation for Colorado’s natural beauty continued to expand. I started to feel really homesick. At the end of the month, my sister Amy came to […]

    September 14, 2015 at 6:09 am
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