Nothing like a Monday to back-hand you in the face with a resounding thump of homesickness and exhaustion. Celebrating my birthday with copious amounts of drink for three days straight likely isn’t helping matters much, and the fact that it’s Monday morning is just adding insult to injury, but approximately 27 days after my departure from the USA, I have finally been inflicted with the most vicious of the expat afflictions: The Holiday Hangover.
The Holiday Hangover is a unique variant of the homesickness virus. Onset usually begins over some ocean somewhere in the world as you are returning to your country of residence from your country of birth. But symptoms are rarely expressed for weeks, sometimes months, after onset. Then, it hits you like a freight train: you’ve just used up your entire vacation day allowance visiting home, you have nothing to look forward to, and you’re not likely to see any of your family members or friends for months (if you’re lucky).
I expected my Hangover to hit much earlier than it did, and I even thought maybe I’d gotten off clean this trip home. But no, that sneaky little asshole was just storing up his energy waiting to deliver a stronger wallop than normal. After a deep psycho-self-analysis, I’ve determined that this is likely due to anticipation for my (now-passed) birthday, the fact that my only family member in this country is preparing for her return to the US, an incredibly stressful few weeks at work (and not much hope of it letting up anytime soon), and some disappointments in my personal life that I’d tried to convince myself didn’t really matter (but actually kinda do). A glorious snowball effect that reached critical mass this morning as I booted up my computer and tried to swallow a lump in my throat.
For the first time, I’ve realized that my homesickness isn’t just the result of missing the people and places I’ve left behind, but is brought on by the ever-present restlessness of soul that seems to have become much more pronounced the past year I’ve been here in Australia. Somehow I feel like something is supposed to be happening that just isn’t, and maybe that’s why I keep feeling like I want to go back, because I feel like I’m not going forward anymore.
As I’ve mentioned before when the homesickness beast reared it’s ugly head, I know that this too shall pass and tomorrow will be a brighter day, etc. etc. but today, I’m just giving it up to the Holiday Hangover.