Friday, 26 October 2012


Ah, I think I'm feeling homesick.

We learnt about Culture Shock and it's five stages in university to prepare us for our year abroad.
The five stages being:
  1. The Honeymoon Stage
  2. The Disintegration Stage
  3. The Reintegration Stage
  4. The Autonomy Stage
  5. The Interdependence Stage
*source: The Five Stages of Culture Shock: Critical Incidents Around The World - Paul Pederson 1995

The honeymoon stage is easy to recognise as you feel like you're still on holiday. Everything is beautiful. Everything still is beautiful here. I am so happy to be here. I look at my desk with the mobile phone plan in Spanish and a easy to read story book in French and I feel lucky. I'm learning new languages, which I'm discovering is a hobby of mine, living in a new country, in a beautiful city, with a happy warm family. I know I am in the 1% when it comes to favourable fortunes.

Yet for the last 2 weeks I've been feeling sick. But not the cool respectable sick, like flu. No, it's the kind of sick you get when you're sad. Can homesickness be literal? Like seasickness? And is there a pill I can take for it? Because it feels like I'm on a beautiful cruise ship but I can't appreciate the experience while I'm in the bathroom spewing.

This article on the CNN website says that homesickness isn't really about 'home' but about our need for love, security and protection which we associate with home. Thus when we are away from these things, we miss them, and home.
But then it goes on to say that previous experience being away from home inoculates against a future bout of homesickness.

Now if this were true, I should be so immune that doctors are using my blood to make the aforementioned pill to cure homesickness.

This is the seventh time I've moved away from (a) home for a period longer than 2 months. I should be a pro at this.

But I'm not. I find myself thinking about my family, my friends, my exes. Wondering what they're doing with their lives as I begin yet another life experiment. I drift in and out of conscientious consciousness.

When I am confronted with Facebook, I see people eating dumplings and going to the mountains in Taiwan, I miss that.
I reminisce about good times, friends I miss, happy days that we shared. 

Carries stoop in New York with Taz

Cherry Blossom season

Dominick's in Chicago - our local supermarket

My first meal in Taiwan

Going to Green Island

Riding the 'L' in Chicago

Love in the Philippines

The road trip

Spring Scream in Kenting

The Statue of Liberty

Going to the beach
Maybe most of all, I miss the family I had in Taiwan. I really do love these guys. The five of us in that apartment had such a great dynamic, probably impossible to ever replicate. If I feel homesick, it's probably homesick for these guys.

The article is right; I miss the familiar. I need ol' familiar to come and give me a great big hug right about now.

It's probably why I've found comfort in the songs that I used to listen to while I was in Taiwan including the playlist in the previous post.

It's strange for me that after all this time, I still miss Taiwan. I don't think I missed England for this long. Is Taiwan the one I let get away...?

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Flightless Bird

Autumn has announced it's arrival!

The leaves are changing colour and littering the landscape, and the weather is decidedly colder.

Mandarins, pears and pumpkins are in season. Whispers of who's wearing what for Halloween.

Scarves are seen, hats and gloves will be soon, jackets seeing daylight for the first time since summer.

A timid sun plays peek-a-boo through the leaves.

The world has turned in to a blend of browns, oranges and reds.

Oh Chicago, I miss you.
For many it's their favourite season, and it's not difficult to see why.
Autumn turns the world a sentimental sepia.
My most beautiful Autumn was in America. All these photos were taken in 2007 when I lived Chicago and a couple from a camping trip I took in the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. I have such happy memories of that time.

Autumn also brings the chill with it. And on those days when your brain is running slower than usual, and you're feeling a bit under the weather in general,
where do you seek comfort?

A mug of hot tea?
A long hot bath with scented oils?
A movie under the duvet?
Junk food?
A cosy nap?

Maybe even all of these over the course of a day.

I've been having such a day, and I've found comfort in sound. Snuggled under the duvet listening to this playlist on 8tracks.

Pop it on, close your eyes and close the door on the world with all it's worries.

It's a 31 minute mental massage for a tired and tightly wound brain that's got too much on it.

Before it's done, you'll have more clarity to face the responsibilities that don't care how you're feeling unless you're in the hospital. 

My first and last pumpkin carving!