Yesterday was my father’s 60th birthday and while my family is currently on a weekend cruise in the Bahamas, I’m alone in cold gray Norway, the constant drizzle to keep me company. They are in bathing suits by the pool, my brother no doubt with a Corona in his hand. They are eating filet mignon and drinking bottles of wine by the dozen. They are dancing and laughing and doing it all without me. Because the fact is, I don’t care so much about the cruise, the weather, the food, the drinks; it’s the fact that I’m not with them that saddens me.
I’ve lived away from home for the past five years, but there is a huge difference between NYC-Miami and Oslo-Miami. If I still lived in NY, it wouldn’t have been a big deal to fly home for the weekend. I know I would be with them on that cruise. I have lived in Oslo for a few months, but only now am I starting to feel the weight of that distance. This is one of the sacrifices we expats have to make, the biggest one.
I am happier in Norway than I was in NY or Miami. I know this is the right place for me and that coming here is what I needed to do, but that doesn’t mean it won’t hurt to spend Christmas apart from my family. I do have relatives in Oslo, so I won’t be entirely alone, but Christmas is my parents and my brother. It doesn’t really matter where we have spent it or what we have done, as our traditions have changed over the years, all that matters is that we have been together.
I can’t really say I’m homesick because I don’t miss home. I don’t miss the cities of Miami or NY nor do I wish I still lived there, but I do love and miss my friends back home in America. Making new friends can be exhausting sometimes. There’s always a bit of a feeling of uncertainty, of wondering if people not only like you but also understand you. Do they get my sense of humor? Do they just think I’m a loud American? There’s a certain comfort in having people around who love you for you. While it’s not always easy in Norway, I am making new friends. I know it won’t be long before I have just as many friends here as I do in NY. However, when it comes to the three most important people in the world, well they are irreplaceable.