Straight out of school and facing the dilemma of leaving home. I was scared and daunted. I wasn’t ready to test my poor cooking skills, to do my own washing, to be solely responsible for getting myself out of prickly situations. Mum wasn’t a yell away, or hogging the phone line. I would have no one to nag me not to spend my money, or to make me hot lemon and honey drinks when I’m sick.
I decided to stay at home.
A year on, being comfortable for a few months longer was the right decision. The safe decision, but one that allowed me time to adjust to my surroundings and spin the lie that I was working full time to “save money for University” (a valid and true reason, but one that didn’t stop my increasing online purchases).
Before deciding to delay University, I was asked imploringly and often if I thought I would get homesick. A year ago, my answer was more along the lines of, “I think so”. I knew my mother would miss me quietly, loudly, and all year around. That knowledge has proved itself to be very much true.
Halfway through a year of clearing tables and delivering coffee and scones, I felt stuck. I felt stuck in the same routine, a routine I was thankful for and yet also increasingly frustrated at. Thankful that I had an income; that I had responsibilities that alleviated the financial burden that all teenagers are to their family; that I had work to fill my days. Increasingly frustrated that it took me less time than I had anticipated to feel fed up; frustrated that the things I had hoped to do without the pressure of school had been pushed further to the side; frustrated that my friends who had moved out of home seemed to be having the time of their lives.
It was at this halfway period that I realised the answer to the homesick question would be a no. I felt that I had to take the opportunity to get out of home, out of the city I had lived in all my life. I think I needed to feel free to f**k up, to be in a position where I had to make my own decisions in either sucking it up or asking for help.
Now that I’m at University, having moved halfway down the country (not that far away considering how small New Zealand is compared to other countries), this realisation has held. I am not homesick, except for the fluffy cats I had to say goodbye to, whom my mother still insists on making me talk to via phone call when they’re around. That was one thing I never expected, to feel longing for tiny furry creatures. Strange and sad, that I probably miss my cats more than my mother (although I have a wealth of her home baked goods that I could list that my stomach misses very much).
In a city I had only ever visited twice, where I knew a handful of people, in which I now live:
I am not homesick. Yet, how do I tell my mother?