top of page

of being homesick.

I never looked at homesickness as a privilege, but I've come to realize that it is.

When I first moved to a new country, I was ready to feel the sting of missing people and places. I prepped myself, made sure I made the most of my last few weeks in Southern California. I loved my job, the people I was surrounded by, and my old haunts. I drank good beers and stayed out late, milking every minute spent in my beautiful city.

When my mother dropped me off at the airport, I did not cry. When I landed in Tel Aviv, I smiled. The first few weeks were a whirlwind of orientations, moving in, meeting new people, and settling into my program. I started language-learning classes and teaching in a new school. I had to hit the ground running and pick up Israeli culture on the go. I simply didn't have any time to miss home. Until now.

I've hit a plateau in exciting things. It is rare to meet someone new, to make a real friend. I'm exhausted when it comes to learning Hebrew and sometimes the culture shock leaves me fried. It isn't fun anymore. I am tired and lonely. Most days I wake up, go to work, come home in time to eat, go to some Masa program (Ulpan or a fellowship track or whatever), hit the gym, shower, and go to bed. There is no time to breathe, no time to be me.

I've stopped performing, dancing, and writing jokes.

I've started to pine for even the smallest details of my old life.

What first started off as just missing Mexican food has turned into a deep pit that yearns for KBBQ, ramen, carne aside fries, cheeseburgers (which I never really ate that much before), bacon omelettes, and so many other, non-Kosher foods. I want my car back, and with that, my independence. I miss getting texts from my friends, who don't contact me regularly anymore, and hugs from my parents. I feel empty without the smell of the San Diego marine layer in the mornings, without those breath-taking sunsets on the beach.

I live, now, in a beautiful place. But sometimes, it feels grey and hollow.

I realize how idiotic this homesickness is.

At least I have a place to go back to, to call "home."

When my parents immigrated to Israel, they knew that they would never be going back to where they'd come from. I meet a lot of olim chadashim (new immigrants) who have come to Israel to start their new lives. They will never see their homes again, and so Israel becomes their new home. This is not unlike the experiences of immigrants to the United States. We all believe that there is something greater for us, waiting.

And what an adventure all of this is.

How silly it is of me to feel so blue when the world doesn't stop turning for just one person who misses their mommy. When there are mountains to hike, cities to explore, food to try, and friends to meet.

Homesickness is a privilege that hits all of us once in a while, but the trick is not to dwell. Homesickness is boredom, and boredom is our own fault, when there are plenty of opportunities to escape it. We must pick ourselves up, dust off the gloom, and go for a walk in the sunshine.

It could be so much worse.

I believe the worst feeling in the world is when you're back home, on your couch, wishing you'd taken that last bite. Texted that person back. Danced to that one song or had gone to that bonfire at the beach. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that cannot, must not, be wasted.

I know this. I understand this.

But here I sit, scouring Kayak for tickets home that I know I will not purchase. Looking at photos of friends having the times of their lives, without me. Missing out on engagements, birthday celebrations, my brother's first year in college.

Today is one of those days when it is hard to be the traveling friend, privileged though I am.

bottom of page