07 January 2008

On homesickness.

A friend's brother returned from the U.S. awhile ago but has been suffering severe "reverse culture shock". He's homesick to what he considered "home" for over six years. She keeps asking "How long did it take you to get over it?" I usually just smile, "quite a long time."

I've realized that for me this "homesickness" seems like its always gonna linger.

What is it like? The only metaphor I can come up with is you know how when you have more people riding in car than it can carry. Say you have four people and a car seat with a baby in it in the back seat of a mid-sized sedan (its always a maroon car in my mind for some reason) and you're a backseat passenger who'snot really comfortable but after 20 minutes everyone's gotten somewhat acquainted with the crowded situation. Twenty minutes into your trip the driver decides to make a sharp turn and all the passengers have shifted in their seats so you all have to adjust your positions to try to get comfortable once again. Then 10 minutes later the same thing happens all over, the car's maneuvered in some way that makes the passengers uncomfortable, they adapt their positions just to be moved and uncomfortable again. Does it make sense?

That's what homesickness and "reverse culture shock" is like to me. Moving back to Kuwait becomes like getting into a crowded car. It's never really comfortable but you get situated and settled then one thing changes and its uncomfortable again. To a certain extent its cyclical.

I distinctly remember the few months after I moved back to Kuwait I would only listen to Mohammad Abdou (the singer not the revivalist)'s CD's in the car. (shout out to Bu Noura!)He voice was familiar, his songs made me feel safe; and as crazy at that sounds like in the midst of the chaotic roads full of idiotic drivers he was my security blanket.

Today's lesson: It's not easy coming "home".

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