Homesick much?

Why is it that such small simple things can have such a huge impact on you and stir that ache and longing for the familiar in your heart? Just this morning I heard a sound that instantly transported me back “home”. A sound that I hadn’t heard here before in Jordan. The sound that I heard was the song of a small wren. I knew before even going outside on the balcony that there was a wren in the fruit trees. That song is so distinctive, so familiar to me, yet so out of place here. I’m not sure where the wren has come from as there is only one, but it’s song had the capacity to bring memories flooding back to me. I don’t even know what type of wren it is, but it’s definitely a wren.

You see at home at Mum and Dad’s farm there were several colonies of Blue Wrens that called the garden home. They had the ability with their cheery, chattery and definitely cheeky trill to be able to almost talk to you. And their appetite for grated cheese was second to none. The rate at which they would flit out of the bushes when they heard the tap of the cheese grater on the window sill was amazing and they would chatter almost crossly at you if you didn’t get your hand out of the way of their cheese quick enough.

This got me thinking about something a friend asked me the other day. She asked me do I ever feel homesick. When you’re homesick, you might feel nostalgic for familiar things like family, friends, house, or surroundings. If this is homesickness then I feel this every day. I’ve been away from “home” for over 3 years now and whilst the intensity of the feelings have lessened, the frequency certainly has not.

There is not a day that goes by where I don’t wish that my family and friends weren’t a 20 hour plane trip away, that I wish I didn’t have to face the daily challenges of living in a culture were everything is strange, unfamiliar and alien to me. Or maybe I should rephrase that – were I’m the alien in surroundings and a culture that is not my own. This is not to say that I let these feelings consume me or let them incapacitate me and stop me from living here in Jordan (well most days anyway!)

Asides from family and friends there are so many things that I miss about living in Australia. Here’s a list of just some of the things that I miss (in no particular order): Tim Tams, sandwich loaf, multi grain bread, sour dough bread – in fact any type of bread that isn’t pita/flat bread!, the MCG, AFL football, cricket, green grass, parks with green grass, trees, space, clean public places with no rubbish, order, products you can rely on, getting what you pay for, Bonds, buying underwear from a lingerie store , The Age, The Saturday Age, international cuisines, variety in diet, food from all over the world, fish’n’chips, cows, pets, going out for brunch, walking around the Tan, going for a walk without feeling self conscious, the gym, boxing, regular massages, going to the hairdressers, acupuncture, Cadbury’s, Mint Slice biscuits, my PT, colourful bird life, flora of Australia, fauna of Australia, being able to buy a particular cut of meat, or just chicken breasts not the whole chicken,  fresh pasta of all types, swimming, beaches, blueberries, asparagus, sushi, cheese, supermarkets, book stores, op shops, libraries, smoke free venues, dinner parties, …… this is by no means an exhaustive list!

(Some of the things that I miss would be more readily available to me if I lived in Amman but not in a small country village of Wadi Musa.)

I will write more in another post about some of things that because of living in Jordan that I enjoy or have access to.

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22 responses to “Homesick much?

  1. I guess Im lucky that I never feel homesickness … home is wherever I am, provided I am in the Middle East … strangle, isnt it? I wish you to find the way to deal with your homesickness 🙂

  2. It’s definitely always the ‘little’ things that find the chink in our armour and make us realise just how vulnerable we are. Wadi Musa is an amazing place for a tourist but to live there as part of the community I should think is very challenging and I admire you for your positive attitude and embracing a lifestyle, which i imagine, is very different to the one you knew before. I was totally intrigued, fascinated and in awe of Marguerite van Geldermalsen when i read her book ‘Married to a Bedouin’ and can imagine some of her experiences are similar to you own.I wish you strength for those times when the homesick blues strike. 🙂

    • Thank you for your support. Marguerite’s book is a great read and I’m not sure that I could have done what she did – living in a cave is not the sort of thing that I’m into. 🙂 It certainly is very different to being a tourist and living in Wadi Musa, but something that I’m sure that with time will continue to become easier. Thank goodness for the internet!

  3. There is probably nothing more further apart than living on a farm in Australia to living in Jordan! I can only imagine the immense change in your life it has been. I’m sure the home sickness will come in waves. It’s taken me 6 years of living in Mozambique for me to feel it is my home! I hope it happens quickly for you…but until then, keep a stash of tim tams ready for those down days!

  4. Yes indeed, there are quite anumber on that list with the absence of which I would have problems . . . but, a long time ago, I was taught always to make a two-sided list . . . what was good/bad on both . . . you seem already to have done that – I think all of us would love to read all the balancing factors which provide your equilibrium!

    • Post about the things that i get to enjoy coming in the not too distant future. Like you I’ve been taught that you can’t dwell on the negatives but need to look at things from both sides.

  5. It’s hard, living far away from your family and everything familiar and it’s almost impossible to explain it to people who haven’t experienced it. I’ll make a wild assumption that there isn’t an expat community close by :). I get homesick, not necessarily for things, but for people. Weddings, birthdays, family reunions, facebook posts of everyone having fun without me…all make me homesick. It comes in waves. Can your family ship your favs from home?

    • Mum sends me parcels of Mint slice biscuits, Milo, vegemite, Kraft chunky peanut butter and Sard soap on a regular basis!! Expat community is small in Wadi Musa and there is only one other expat who has children so in a similar stage of life to me. She’s a wonderful friend but unfortunately for me as returned home to Holland for the summer months. Very much looking forward to her coming back in October. It’s funny what sets off the triggers for homesickness in different people.

  6. If it’s any consolation, we’ve had the worst weather and it is absolutely freezing down here in Australia. Given, I’m based in Melbourne but I suspect Sydney’s not too far off the zero point, especially in the mornings! I hope you feel better =)

  7. It’s true, Amman is different. A lot of the stuff you wish for is available here – if you’ve got that kind of money.
    Reading your posting I wondered – but actually, I am lucky not to feel homesick. Maybe because I am not so much an expat as an emigrée? I was in Germany for four weeks in spring, for family reasons, and as much as I enjoyed some things (food, especially, but more because my mother let me buy all I wanted, which includes things that I could buy here but cannot afford), I just missed Jordan. I sort of understood that it became home to me, and in truth never felt really strange since the first day I came. Maybe I just fit in here – I walk over the rubbish and I was never one for walks in the greenery 😉 – our garden is as much as I need.
    This does not mean I do not understand you – but I hope you still like your life here well enough not to feel depressed by such reminders.

  8. Yes that is the other problems isn’t it. When you do find things that are familiar they are way out of our price range so it would be almost better if they weren’t available at all! We certainly don’t have the money to buy such items just to meet my whim! Thank goodness my Mum sends me a regular supply of Mint slice biscuits and vegemite!
    You are certainly lucky that you have found your home here in Jordan and your little piece of paradise in your garden.
    I just have to remember to be thankful for what I do have because I live in Jordan. My wonderful husband and beautiful daughter are certainly two of the biggest reasons I’ve got to love living here! 🙂

  9. Pingback: Things to be thankful for | Middle East Moments·

  10. Oh! I just realized you miss me a little bit! Well, I miss you too! It’s funny how I can relate to your posts. Although Canada and Australia is fairly similar, there isn’t many days that I don’t think of home. Yes, I still feel that Canada is home even though my life is here now and even if I have been here for 12 years. When I weigh the reasons why I live here, It unfortunately out-weighs the little things that make me miss home. You are very interesting to read and I can appreciate your spiritual approach. Mikey xx

    • I was wondering if you would pick up on that!!! Miss you heaps! It’s the same for me – Australia will always be home, but yep the big things that I’m in Jordan for definitely outweigh all the things that I miss. xx

  11. This great post and the list in it made me in turn homesick for Australia! (I’m half Aussie half Jordanian). I’ve always had waves of the feeling for both places – in recent years I’ve kind of accepted the homesickness when it comes as a kind of love I get to keep for those details in those two homes. I know exactly what you’re describing here – perfect list!

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