I hadn’t experienced any symptoms of homesickness until two days into my third week abroad.
I woke up tired, as the day progressed I gradually felt more exhausted and overwhelmed. Wednesday, June 14th was the first day where I shed tears of sadness. At the moment, I couldn’t place an origin to my sadness. It wasn’t until the next day that I realized I had been subconsciously experiencing homesickness without noticing. I realized that I’d been listening to music that reminded me of the amazing memories I have back home. When listening to Kompa, I was reminded of my father. When I listened to my summer playlist, I was reminded of the memories I’ve made over the summers with my best friend. Listening to Cosmo Pyke and Yebba reminded me of the routines I’d created while at home. The feelings of sadness were surprising to me because I’d thought I was coping fairly well up until that point.
I avoided homesickness by trying to maintain the familiar routines I’d created while being at home. This meant that I would frequently call back home to my family and friends. I would listen to the playlist I created prior to leaving and I would also find time to watch TikTok and youtube. These were all things, I’d do regularly back home, I tried to maintain doing them while in Italy. For a while, it worked. Even though I was in a country foreign to me, calling my friends and family made me feel at home. I got to maintain the parts of me I’d developed prior to leaving Florida, which helped me feel like myself even though I was so far away. I found that scrolling through my Instagram feed was especially comforting, because there is where I got to interact with black content creators. This was significant to me because I was often the only black person in a room while I was abroad. Although I had a great experience, being a minority was isolating because there were times when I felt like I couldn’t fully relate to others around me. Contrastingly, on social media, I got to see individuals who shared the same humor as me and understood the same cultural references. For this reason, social media became a comfort for me.
For the time being, I was able to successfully avoid homesickness, but there eventually came a time when everything set in. I realized that the very things that brought me comfort abroad also made me miss home all the more. My comforts became the source of my sadness. Although I was homesick, I allowed myself the space to feel. Over time, the feelings of sadness reduced as I created new norms in Italy which helped me feel at home away even though I was miles away from home.
***The photos below are from my weekend trips to Milan and Venice.***