Homesickness is a feeling I’m all too familiar with. Homesick while in college, homesick when I studied abroad, homesick for college when I moved back home, and now homesick for the United States.
I woke up this morning craving familiarity. I wanted nothing more to look out my window and see Miami sprawled out before me. I wanted to get in my car and head down to 8th street to grab some cheese pastelitos with una colada–cheese pastries and Cuban coffee. It’s not like I even had those things regularly when I lived in Miami, but I always knew that whenever I DID want some I could just get in my car and grab some.
When I went to Miami this past September I expected everything to have stayed the same. But even just pulling out of the airport I realized that everything changed. The streets weren’t the same, traffic lights were replaced, and new buildings that were being erected filled the once familiar skyline. Life kept going even though I wasn’t there anymore. I wanted nothing more than to just turn back the clock and be in my element. But my element no longer exists. My comfort zone has moved on. And here I am stuck somewhere in the middle.
I brought up the topic with my parents this morning over breakfast and I asked them if this feeling was normal. The void I feel in the pit of my stomach. And my dad just looked at me and said, “I’ve been feeling that since before I left Cuba. I don’t think anyone actually feels like they fit anywhere. You just have to make the best of it.” And it struck me. I should’ve known that my dad must have felt like that when he lived in the States. He had it easier than most immigrants because he lived in Miami, the cluster of Cuban culture outside of Cuba itself, and he always seemed to effortlessly navigate his way through Miami. Could be that as a child you don’t really think about those things but I just never really took note of my dads own homesickness.
I don’t think I could ever call Miami “home” again. I think I’ve changed too much to find a place for myself and Miami is growing exponentially. I am so proud of the progress and development taking place there, but it’s just not what I remember. Uruguay is where I need to be right now. I’m still trying to figure out how to make this place home. Less because of the language barrier or the cultural differences, but because I’m slowly realizing that unless I live in the NOW no place will feel like home.
I can’t keep looking at my past craving something that isn’t there, and I can’t look towards the future if I’m too deep in self pity to make the most of it. There are going to be days where yes I’ll still miss my forever home, but I need to make the conscious effort to make Uruguay my home now. Even though it doesn’t feel like home maybe one day it will. And if it doesn’t, then I can only hope that one day I do find a place that feels like home.