Yesterday, for the first time, I missed home. The feeling rose somewhat unexpectedly– from somewhere inside of me– and caught me by surprise.
The rest of the family is gone on a two-week vacation to Goa–it is just my wife and I (and the dog, of course) here in Dubai. While sitting on the small patio area behind our villa, a ton of thoughts and emotions slowly grew: I do not know how long it will be before I get to see my parents, my brother and his family, and my friends from the US again; this is not a vacation; I am not going home, this is my new home. I cannot even call my family in the US. They are on vacation (with my brother and all his family) in China, until late this month. To make it worse, when we left my parents’ house for the flight to Dubai, it was the last time I will be able to call that house “home.” It was the home I grew up in and my parents are selling it.
Tears welled up. I knew this was not going to be easy.
Later, I searched for work online and made a few phone calls to some possible job leads. After that my wife and I drove across town to run an errand. I am slowly learning the roads here and it was nice to know I am able to get across town and back again.
On the way home we stopped at Spinneys, a chain grocery store here that carries more European and American brands than the other grocers around. What was weird was that just seeing grocery store brands that are familiar helped lessen my homesickness. Froot Loops, Ruffles, Campbell’s, Bush’s Baked Beans, Glad garbage bags, Scott paper towels, Tony’s frozen pizza…just the smallest, material, seemingly very inconsequential things helped–just because they were familiar.
I thought about all the familiar roads in Frederick and Middletown. I thought of the familiar woods behind my house. I thought of the familiar faces of the people I love.
Very little is familiar here. However, everyday that “very little” grows in small increments.
What happened to my childlike excitement of being in a new culture? It is still there and still excited. But even children can only stay excited for so long before they crash and need the familiar cradle of their mother’s cuddling.
I think I’ll go curl up on the coach and cuddle with the bag of Ruffles I just bought.