Long time, no blog, I get it. I have been rather busy, travelling the world and keeping an extraordinarily detailed journal. My Europe trip covers five notebooks. I've been home in Australia for a week and a half now and it's absolutely lovely to see my family and my friends. I'm mostly back in the swing of things, already working again and doing things I have neglected while I was away. My backpack is hulking in the corner, there's a pile of woven baskets in another and life continues as "normal".
When I say I'm home, I mean I am home to the people who raised me and have loved me my whole life, I'm back in the city and country I grew up in, around people I have known for a long time. These are people I love in a place I know quite well. The tricky thing about travelling though is that you can create more than one home for yourself, so even when you are at what most people will call your home and you call home, you can still be homesick. It's something I didn't know was possible until I went to Vanuatu.
Vanuatu for me is also a home. There are people there who love me and are my family. As much as I joke about it, those people "re-raised" me. They taught me how to follow their way of life and live in their home. As the old saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child, except here the villages were given an adult who is already grown up for the most part and still managed to teach her something new. They taught me a lot.
Homesickness cannot be limited to one place and one set of people. One day, I will miss my Australian family, my real parents and blood family, the friends I went to school and youth group with, another day, I might not miss them but I miss my Level family, the people who taught me to use a bush knife and kept me safe in a cyclone. Other days, it'll be the Atavtabanga family, who spent far too much time laughing at my reaction to rats, giving me lots of tea and teaching me to cook. Some days I don't feel a huge absence of any of them and some days, when I am away from all of the people I call family, it hits me more that the humidity does when you get off the plane in Vila.
As much as feeling like that sucks, it makes me realise how lucky I am to have that many people to call family, that many mums, dads, brothers and sisters. I think it's a rare thing to be loved by so many people in so many places just because I was there. My families are all different, they follow different religions, they are from different backgrounds and lead different lives. That does not affect the way they love though, nor does it change how I love them or how much I do.
Homesickness is a strange beast, never to be tamed I guess, and maybe it shouldn't be. Some times we need a reminder of where we have come from and what we have to go back to. Whether we are homesick for a person, a group of people, a place or a mixture of the three, it means that there is something special that we might be apart from in person, but it's never far from our thoughts. I think that is pretty special.
Today, I am home in one place and missing another, which is a strange feeling. Love to all of my families who have made so many places home for me.
Love From Me and My Backpack