I sometimes forget that I’ve only been here for a year and that it’s
perfectly normal for me to feel homesick from time to time. Sometimes
it can be almost paralyzing.
We spent Labour Day weekend with Simon’s parents. The conversation
turned to the Philippines. I told them about the idea of a barkada –
the close, mutually supportive group of friends that I often hung out
with. I told them stories from my grandmother’s colorful past. I told
them about my parents, about the new house, about these little facets
of life—and I found myself silently crying, wondering once again what
I was doing in Canada, wondering whether I couldn’t have just stayed
home and made a difference anyway.
Simon stood up, walked over, and held me until I felt better. He promised
that we’d talk afterwards. His dad looked at me with compassion and
quietly asked me if I was feeling homesick. I nodded, and then joined
Simon’s mom in feeding peanuts to the raccoons that come to their deck
– a little bit of serenity as I cleared my thoughts.
On the drive back, Simon helped me sort through not only what I was
feeling but also how I might make the most of my talents and skills. I
hurt because I care, Simon said, and that’s a good thing. It’s
particularly difficult because my homesickness is also bound up in a
sense of responsibility and a desire to help. Sometimes I get
paralyzed by the thought that if I’m going to be away, I need to be
doing something absolutely spectacular.
Yeah, sometimes that can be really scary.
I need to make sure that what I’m doing here is worth the sacrifice.
Most of the time, I can see that. Most of the time, I remember that
through luck or circumstance or work, I have more opportunities than
most people would, and I can share those opportunities with other
people. I have a good-karma file of the changes I’ve made to people’s
lives and the encouraging messages I’ve received. I sometimes need
help remembering, though.
To all the people who remind me when I forget why I’m here: thank you.