How hard is it to come back to America? How hard is it to see people that look like you and wonder why there are so many foreigners everywhere you go? How hard is it to turn on the TV and experience genuine shock at how much English there is? Why can I understand it? Why doesn’t it look like it did there? How hard is it to not want to go out and drink and go to new clubs and bars because it’s NOT Sam & Dave’s, it’s NOT Barco’s, and the people with you ARE NOT the people you trusted with everything that you were and would become for a year?

All I remember is the smell of the clubs at 4am, when I was too drunk to smell the clubs. And all I remember is the taste of the wine when we stayed up talking until we weren’t even tired anymore. And all I remember is the taste of brownies that we made into cookies because our toasters weren’t big enough for the ‘real’ thing. And all I remember is everything that was perfect, the days that I ran until I was breathless, smiling into the fading sunshine, wishing the day would never fade to darkness. And all I remember is making a new stir fry on my tiny burners in my lived in apartment with its smell of warm tatami in the summer and the hot macha tea I made in the winter. All I remember is the faces of everyone I loved. They flash before me, over and over, like the counted sheep of fables, as I try to fall asleep. But unlike the counted sheep, they keep me awake, remembering every secret and embarrassing moment, every misstep and perfect step, and I laugh, out loud, to myself, because it’s so funny, the memories we made. And I’m so engrossed in all I can remember that it becomes my reality, in those moments late enough at night for it to all to make sense — that this is all I remember.

I squeal, so loudly it terrifies my roommates, about the smallest things – like Eminem performing on TV. And I scream when I hear JB on the radio. And I can’t explain it to all the people that think I’m crazy, that think I’ve got the worst taste (though I do), that think I am so far behind and am too excited for things that are absolutely mundane. But I’m so excited because it’s everything that wasn’t Japan, everything that I missed in Japan. But in all my pro-America excitement, I miss it – Nippon and my tomodachis. I miss the feeling of missing America, because that became Home. For so long home was a place nonexistent to me – my address changed every six months, every eight months. But Japan, in all it’s crazy and all its obscure and all its misunderstood (by me) traditions and cultures, became Home. Japan was the first Home Ive had since little kid home. And America-missing became a part, a tradition, a feeling of that home. So I watch and I listen to American pop culture in America, and all I feel is Japan.

It’s backwards, you know? To think only of America in Japan and only of Japan in America, but I suppose that’s the way life structures itself. We want what we can’t have. But somewhere along the way, we trick this old wives tale by loving what we can’t have and the place we can’t have it. Me wanting America is me being in Japan, and those are the things I love, far more than being in America itself and loving America itself. I love America the idea, when I’m so far away I can’t taste the bagels and hear the rudeness on the streets.

Mostly, I spend my days daydreaming about the perfection that was my friends and the experiences we had.

Mostly, I’m nostalgic for home.

Mostly, I’m homesick.


~ by C on September 13, 2010.

4 Responses to “Homesick”

  1. I miss you. 😦 I say that a lot but I really, really do. Seriously, that clubbing night felt strange without you and sake.

  2. You are homesick for mom! What will it take for you to realize that?

  3. Cyndi:

    My name is Chris B and I am currently a law student at Georgetown Law in DC. We’ve never met and do not know each other. However, yesterday when I was leaving my house on Florida Avenue NE in DC I looked down as I was about to cross the street and I found a University of Nebraska School I.D. which I believe is yours. I found you through a little bit of Google detective work. If you want it back send me an email. If I do not hear from you I will assume that you do not need it. Have a good one.



  4. Cyndi, I’m not sure if you still read these comments (because this post is over 2 years old), but after you left your comment on my blog, I stopped over. I literally can’t think of a single other thing I’ve ever read in my life that has hit me harder than this post. I actually read it a few days ago, but am only commenting now. I was going to read it back again, but it was too hard to do. It just hit so, so close to home and it’s the kind of thing that hit me on such a visceral level that I can’t read it more than once. Your writing is breathtaking. Thank you for putting everything I’ve ever felt about living overseas into the most beautiful, eloquent passage imaginable. I literally couldn’t breathe as I read it. You have no idea what this meant to me.
    I hope you see this! 🙂

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