I've been homesick for two years now. It all started when I graduated with my MA from BYU and decided on a whim that I would move to New York for an indeterminate amount of time, just to see if I could make it. The jobs I had set up for me before I went all fell through and I felt like the city was trying to eat me alive. So I came home.
By that time I knew the PhD program at the University of Louisville was an option for 2011, but I didn't know what I could possibly do for the year in between. I certainly didn't want to stay in Utah and work. So I applied on a whim for the London Consortium. They called me for an interview on an early July morning, I could hardly understand what they said, but I bullshat my way through it and the emailed me 3 hours later to say that I got in. I had 2 months to sort out my visa and get everything set to go. London was supposed to be my dream come true, but again I was far away from my family and alone in a big city and had even fewer friends than in New York. But at least it was London and that mostly made up for all of the loneliness and sadness.
I came home from London in the middle of last July and had one month before moving myself to Kentucky. It was a miserable month. Getting ready to move to Kentucky is not half as fun as preparing for a year in London. Plus I was reading The People's History of the United States and the last place I wanted to go to was a city where the major parks were named after native American tribes that were destroyed by the American government. There were some days when I just curled up on the floor and groaned because the world was so horrible and I didn't want to leave home again. My mom was infinitely patient with me on those days.
So I left home again on the 15th of August and came to yet another foreign city where I didn't know a soul. Fortunately every person I encountered on that first day and the following week was tremendously kind and helpful, and I'm certain that if they were not so lovely I would not still be here now. I fell into a pretty heavy depression that fall, always wishing I were back in Utah, and missing all of the people I love that are so far away, despite all of the people that I'm learning to love here. The pain was overwhelming and physical. I miss my mountains. I miss my people. I miss my desert.
To counter this depression and homesickness I made some goals at the beginning of the year. I decided to pick up some hobbies and I bought a little fish, something to take care of, and I decided that when I was in a bit more stable place and my own apartment I would get a bunny, which I've always wanted. So I just signed a lease for a new apartment and bought a bunny to celebrate. Even though this was part of the plan, I'm not sure if I was actually ready to take on an animal that needs so much attention and care, which I didn't realize how much attention and care when I got him. He needs 3 different kinds of food and space to run around which means I have to bunny proof the apartment and make sure he can get his exercise. I'm worried about him chewing on the walls and eating paint chips that might have lead in them because it's a really old house. I'm worried that the air conditioner will stop working and he'll over heat. I'm worried that he won't get enough of a variety of veggies. And most of all I'm worried about leaving him when I go home, which throws a wrench in my plans of going back for a month over Christmas and for all of next summer, which I desperately want to do. I'm sure I can find someone to watch him for the week I go back in August, but not for two or three months next summer.
I was telling this to a friend tonight and he said that that's what happens when you have to take care of another life. Your decisions mean more because that other life depends on you. Is it such a terrible thing to only go home for one or two week visits? Part of me wants to say definitely yes. I want to be home. Now. But then I realize that maybe I need to just knock this off and BE HERE. I can't be in Utah and I can't be pining and counting down the days to get there. I can't drop everything I'm doing here to go back home and play for three months. I have work to do here, and now I have a bunny to take care of.
So, in conclusion, for the first time in a while I don't feel homesick tonight. I don't feel that pain in my chest. Maybe some day I will go back to Utah, but I need to realize that I'm in this for the long haul. At least three more years. Maybe this bunny will give me the chance to make a home here as I settle into my new apartment and set up his space. Maybe I should have a little bit of faith and not always demand my needs and wants to be satisfied immediately. I was religious for a pretty long time, I should know something of faith. I have faith that I'll be able to spend time with my family and my friends and my mountains, so I don't need to have anxiety over the fact that it is not happening immediately. I am here doing a job and taking care of this sweet little life, and I think I can live up to those challenges. The goals I set at the beginning of the year were to help me grow up and enter into the adult world of responsibility. And this cheeky bunny might be a little guy, but he's kind of a big deal. He might live up to 10 years, which means he'll be with me for the three years I spend in Louisville, and hopefully he'll be able to move with me where ever I end up next.