My family has traveled ever since we became a family. My parents became pregnant immediately after getting married in the navy which is also when my mom was re-stationed to Connecticut, meanwhile my dad stayed in Hawaii. My mom was medically discharged and sent back to Hawaii, and then we moved to the states when I was just nine months old and my mom was already expecting another baby. We have lived in six different states and visited 28 of them since then. A few years ago my two little sisters went on a work trip with my father to South Africa, the next year I went to Scotland with my mother and that summer I went to Canada with my grandmother, and I have taken numerous road trips with my sisters.
So as you have probably guessed: I am very used (and very happy) to travel.
However, when you look back on my travels you will see something in common- I am always with my family when I travel… or at least I travel between my families to spend time with the family I don’t see daily.
When I enrolled for the study abroad program at my school I had no idea the effect of being without family would have on me. I’m very attached to my parents. My sisters and I are all very open and close to our parents especially our mother. Somehow being away from her never registered with me the entire time I spent preparing for my trip.
At the airport as soon as I gave her a hug and kissed her cheek, she said “See you in three months; I love you to the moon and back.” I smiled, went through security and then realized… I never said “I love you” back! I called her and said “Mama, I forgot to say it, but I love you too -so much!” That’s when it hit. Out of nowhere: This is my first trip alone. I won’t hug my mom for three months! Nor my dad! I can’t roll my eyes at my sisters for three months; I can’t tease my dog with his favorite toy. Sure, I can talk to them all… yes, even my dog, but it’s not the same.
Homesickness is a strange and bittersweet sensation. I want to be home with my family, but I also have a list of things that I want to do in Costa Rica that I’m so excited about. My first three weeks- every time I spoke to my mother I cried- same thing with my boyfriend. I couldn’t handle hearing my sisters` voices yet so I just messaged them a lot. Three months is an iota in the span of my lifetime, but when you’re used to your daily regimen consisting of coffee dates with your mother—it IS a lifetime as they say.
I’ve been here 6 weeks now. And time is flying by! Too fast, and yet not fast enough! On one hand I am counting down the days until I get to return to the life I’ve created for myself, and on the other hand I never want to leave Costa Rica!! Part of me wants to spend every day for the rest of my life sitting on a beach in Puerto Viejo with my coffee in one hand and my journal in the other. The other part of me can’t wait to be making a coffee run for my mom with my dog in the backseat waiting eagerly for his sample-size cup of whipped cream.
Homesickness is a hard thing to handle the first time it hits- but the trick is surrounding yourself with new friends, enjoying the moments you will miss back home, and spending time with your Tico family of course!