Without a doubt, there are definitely situations where I’ve wanted to be at home, not permanently, but for certain occasions. For example, November is quickly approaching, and it will be the third Thanksgiving in a row that I will miss. I look at the pictures of all of my family gathering at my mother’s house in Georgia, and see them happy, smiling, and just enjoying each other’s company. Scrolling through the pictures is bittersweet. It’s so sweet to see how happy my family is, but oh so bitter that I can’t be there. Thanksgiving and Christmas aren’t even holidays in Japan. So while I’m in class teaching, I know my family is enjoying the delights of Mama Ash’s home-cooked, southern cuisine:
candied yams, green bean casserole, squash casserole…
…juicy, tender turkey, Auntie Irma’s seafood stuffing (or is it dressing? I always get confused)…
…sweet potato souffle, red velvet cake, sweet potato pie, chocolate cake…
…hot peach pie and vanilla ice cream.
I can’t help but to feel somewhat wistful. I see pictures of the same house that I lived in since I was about 11 years old, wishing that I could be granted teleportation powers of some sort…just for one day.
Does my family even miss me? I shouldn’t think like that…I know they do…right?…I’d like think so. But I often don’t have a chance to speak with my family…so, I wonder. My number shows up as unknown on U.S. caller IDs, so often my call is mistaken for a bill collector or the random telemarketer. Unfortunately, my family doesn’t make use of Skype as much as they could.
The homesickness comes and goes. There are days when the longing is quite mild, others when the it feels heart-wrenching. Often, the only African-American face that I see on a regular basis is the one in the mirror. I think it’s great sometimes, but it can make matters a bit worse. Don’t get me wrong, I love being around people of different ethnicities, but being taller everybody around me and having a different appearance than everyone me makes feel like an apple in a barrel full of oranges…isolated.
Homesickness and the longing to see family and friends isn’t enough to make me want to leave Japan just yet, but it does make me wish that home was closer than the twelve-hour, 6,786-miles of travel that it takes to get there.
Thinking of home,