Home, to me, is a cool winter's day in Brisbane, with blue skies blazing overhead that find you peeling off your cardigan by lunchtime despite the temperature.
Home is my top floor flat in West Kensington, where I paid more rent than I could afford and my neighbour downstairs opened all my mail.
For a while, home was a big blue truck in Central Asia.
Home is my mother's morning routine: brush teeth, drink tea in bed then a breakfast that always includes toast with marmalade, and finally coffee.
When I was younger, home was snuggling up to our Border Collie, Dusty, and telling him all my secrets.
And home is where I'm sitting right now, with a playful dog at my feet, fireworks going off in the distance (celebrating the Presidential elections that took place today) and my trusty (rusty) bicycle parked out front waiting to whisk me off to work tomorrow.
But when you're somewhere that feels like home, you don't expect to suddenly get hit with a big ol' dose o' homesickness. The first dose you've had since you were sent on school sleepaway camp in fifth grade and were forced to watch piglets being born (not a pretty sight, let me assure you!).
"I felt a pang -- a strange and inexplicable pang that I had never felt before.
It was homesickness.
Now, even more than I had earlier when I'd first glimpsed it, I longed to be transported into that quiet little landscape, to walk up the path, to take a key from my pocket and open the cottage door, to sit down by the fireplace, to wrap my arms around myself, and to stay there forever and ever."
- Alan Bradley, The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag
When I think of homesickness and how it feels for me, I always think of that Lily Allen video for 'LDN' where she skips through filthy streets in London past junkies and piles of rubbish, only seeing the good parts. I guess that's how you know you're home, when you're content with where you are despite the bad. Turn it around and you've got homesickness - seeing only the bad parts and glossing over the good. As my time in Bali slowly comes to an end, I'm starting to find I have less tolerance for the little annoyances than I did before. And I feel a deep longing - not just a brief nostalgia - for something familiar, like a Sunday breakfast on my parents verandah.
"Homesickness is not always a vague, nostalgic, almost beautiful emotion, although that is somehow the way we always seem to picture it in our mind. It can be a terribly keen blade, not just a sickness in metaphor but in fact as well. It can change the way one looks at the world; the faces one sees in the street look not just indifferent but ugly....perhaps even malignant. Homesickness is a real sickness- the ache of the uprooted plant."
- Stephen King, The Breathing Method
Maybe it's just part of getting older, maybe it's my Cancerian homebody traits coming to the surface, or maybe I'm just ready to head home. For no other reason than I just am.
So for now, I'll notice the good things and gloss over the bad. Because I know that I'll be home soon and in time, probably faster than I'm expecting, I'll be longing for somewhere else.
What is home to you? Have you ever felt unexpectedly homesick?