This always happens when I’ve been in NZ for about 3 months. This time, I’ve been here 4 months before getting this feeling. Maybe that’s slow progress?
After 3 months, or 4 as the case may be, the novelty wears off. After 3 months, I start looking up airfare. After 3 months, I really miss my mom. After 3 months, I realize my body has been a little bit tensed up all this time and I’m a bit tired. After 3 months, I want to just “be” – on a daily basis – without “trying”. After 3 months, I want to go home.
It’s Christmas Eve tomorrow, so I’m sure that has something to do with the homesickness. A family member has been in the hospital the past few days, and though she’s fine, nothing makes you suddenly feel far away and helpless faster than a near-emergency back in the homeland. I’ve also been attacked by pollen-induced hay-fever and am subsequently sleep-deprived. Sleep deprivation always makes me emotional.
I’ve had a great 4 months here. I’ve heard myself say, several times, “This transition back to New Zealand, my 4th one, has been the smoothest one yet!” My mom was here for my first month back. I’ve had 3 Alaskan visitors here – a precious combination of my 2 worlds. I’ve been excelling in my role as a PhD student – carrying around books and academic articles, a highlighter, a pen, and ear plugs at all times. Drinking copious amounts of coffee while looking smugly around at the world.
And then, boom. All of the sudden, about this time, I think, “Whew! Well, this has been really fun! New Zealand – what a great country! Good times! Thanks for everything, I think I’d better just head home now! See you next time!” Like a gracious guest leaving a lovely dinner-and-drinks party at 11 pm. “Ta ta!”
And then I realize. I can’t leave. I have a husband here. I’m invested in progressing towards a few different goals here. We have a house. With a garden full of nearly-ripe veggies. So, I have a quick glance at airfare, wondering about a trip home for a visit in a few months. I get that sad, panicky feeling when I see the price tag. Not to say that I can’t make that visit home, but I can’t buy the ticket spontaneously.
I know this moment will pass. I’ve been through this enough to know that this is just the time when the novelty wears off but familiarity and total comfort are discouragingly elusive. That icky-in-between. And the only way to move through this phase is to, well, move through this phase. So, here I go, head down and walking. It’s not so bad; it’s just that if you’re honest, being a migrant inevitably includes some rough spells.