Homesick for the Holidays

As the semester finishes up and everyone gets ready to enjoy the three-week vacation, I am torn between my excitement about visiting Thailand and the aching in my heart about missing home.

The Philippines is an amazing place to live. The weather is beautiful, the people are some of the kindest I’ve ever met, and the opportunities to explore and learn are endless. But it’s not home. My parents aren’t a 30-minute drive away. I can’t meet my best friends at a coffee shop where we will get dirty looks from baristas for talking too loudly. The temperature doesn’t drop below 80, much less below freezing. And as sick as you might think I am, I miss the cold. I miss the feeling of Christmastime in the Iowa.

It just isn’t the same here. Filipinos start celebrating Christmas in September, so it’s not as if the holiday goes unnoticed. There are lights on houses and carols blasting in the malls. But those lights reflect off of palm trees and that music is just a reminder that there is no frightful weather or frosty snowman outside my door.

This time of year is a challenge, as I knew it would be. Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday back home, was one of the saddest days I’ve had here. We do our best to keep each other upbeat, holding our own Thanksgiving feast, complete with Western and Filipino dishes. I can’t imagine how much harder this time of year would be without our Brent family. We focus on the exciting trips we’ll go on, and I get a hint of excitement imagining my friends and family receiving the gifts I’ve ordered online. Hopefully I will even get to watch them open a few via Skype and FaceTime. So it’s not totally devastating, but it’s undeniably hard.

My time here is priceless to me. I do not regret the decision to move here for even a second. But if there were a teleporting device, I’d hit the button in a heartbeat to spend just a few hours with the people I love on Christmas morning. This post isn’t meant as a pity party or to illicit sympathy from anyone. My homesickness is a testament to the wonderful life I have temporarily left behind. I wouldn’t be homesick if I didn’t have such wonderful family and friends making my HOME worth missing.

Love you all!

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