I suppose I couldn't expect it to hold off forever, but now that I've been here a little over three months, I'm starting to feel homesick. I guess when I was at Iowa, I did get used to going a few months without seeing my family, but three months would probably have been the maximum, so it makes sense to be starting to feel this now. I'm sure it's tied in to it being the holiday season, and the fact that I've been asked, over and over again, by customers, coworkers, friends, and professors, whether I'm "going home for Christmas".
I am really looking forward to spending Christmas with Josh, his family, and my friends here, and I really do think that for me, going to the US over winter break would be the wrong decision, both financially and emotionally. Since I'm hopefully planning to stay in Wales after I graduate, it makes more sense to put off a trip to the US for a while longer, rather than when I've only been here a few months. Depending how things work out with my dissertation, I'm toying with the idea of a trip to see my parents next summer. I know being homesick is normal, especially around the holidays, but what makes it stranger this year is the fact that my parents have just moved to a new house in a completely new city.
The majority of my Christmas memories are tied to Peoria, and it is odd to know my parents will be celebrating Christmas somewhere else this year, in a new house. And as much as I know that "home is where the heart is" and I would be welcome any time in my parents' new house, it is definitely a strange feeling knowing that the next time I see them I'll be in their home, but a place that is not (physically) home to me.
Since this post is dedicated to homesickness, here are a few odd things that make me think of the different places I've called home.
1. Caterpillar products
Didn't I tell you these things would be odd?
How many of you have seen the new Bond film, Skyfall? And how many who did see it noticed that the piece of construction equipment on the train in the opening sequence was a Caterpillar-branded product?
I did--I noticed it immediately and got quite excited, and had to explain to Josh later why this had made me think of home. For those of you who don't know, the Caterpillar world headquarters is in Peoria, IL (my hometown), and living in Peoria, Cat is everywhere. Everyone knows someone who works for Caterpillar, and they sponsor all sorts of events and fundraisers. You can't live in Peoria and not know of Caterpillar. So oddly enough, whenever I see Caterpillar construction equipment, I feel a little bit closer to home.
2. Crossing the River Towy
Every Wednesday morning, I cross the pedestrian bridge over the River Towy to get to the train station. The bridge pictured to the left is the Iowa Memorial Union pedestrian bridge, on the University of Iowa campus, which I crossed pretty much every day for the past two and a half years when I was living in Iowa City, to get to class and work from my apartment. This is also the bridge that I was standing on when I decided that I wanted to go to the University of Iowa. Again, it's something rather silly, but crossing that bridge often helped me remember why I loved the Iowa campus and Iowa City in general, and I think of it every time I cross the river here.
3. Bing Crosby's Christmas music
This was actually what inspired this post initially. I've been hearing lots of Bing Crosby Christmas music lately, and I can't listen to that without inevitably thinking of every Christmas I've spent with my family in our old house. Both my parents love Bing Crosby, but I think of my father specifically because I know he likes to croon along to his Christmas melodies. My personal favorite is "White Christmas". And I'm getting the feeling that's another thing I'll miss in Wales--I keep hearing how if even an inch of snow falls, everything shuts down, and that it's unusual for the river to ever freeze over, so I'm not counting on a white Christmas this year, but that's okay.
Thanks for reading my ramblings, as usual! If you're reading this, I'm probably missing you too. And don't forget, 22 days til Christmas :)