I'm sure many expats, students and nomadic souls will agree with me when I say that you can view many places as your home at the same time. When you move to a new place, whether you live there for months or years, you will inevitably develop an attachment to it and the people you meet there. The mere mention of this second home later in life -- a picture or a song you listened to whilst living there -- will be all it takes to bring memories flooding back and that pang of nostalgia and homesickness that we know so well will hit you.
It may sound strange to some people to even talk about homesickness with regard to somewhere that is not our "real" home but there are many people out there who will agree that you can feel a true homesickness for this "second home". In many ways, this homesickness is much the same as the homesickness you feel for your original home. However, it might be accompanied by the feeling of peculiarity when you realize that you are missing another place in the same way you would your true home. Here are five signs that you have been hit by homesickness for the place you lived when away from home.
1. You often consider jumping on the next flight back
If you weren't constrained by your budget, you would probably end up going from one place to the next constantly just so you don't end up missing them. Whenever the homesickness starts to set in for your second, or even third or fourth, home you start to think about when will be the earliest time you can return. Not only do you want to see all your friends again but also the old haunts you created so many brilliant memories in.
2. You spend a large amount of time looking at photos from your time there
It is common knowledge that photos are a great way to remind you of the brilliant times you have had. If you're feeling homesick for a place where you have spent a lot of time, you will probably find yourself looking up old photos. Whether it's the stereotypical tourist shot you took when you first arrived in your new home or the group photos from an evening with your friends there, you will inevitably look at them often and wish you could go back.
3. You miss the culture and language of your second home
Everywhere has its own culture and language or dialect. After you leave the place you called home for however long, you will inevitably miss the cultural norms you took for granted as you settled in there. You may even have begun to learn the language while you were there. Now you might be left with nobody to speak it with, making you long for the days when you could step out the door and hear it on a daily basis.
Not just when you feel homesick for this place, but inevitably after you leave this place, you will seek out ways to stay connected with the things you learned to love there. Maybe it will be a novel in the language so you can remember the culture while practicing your language. If films or music are more your thing, you will surely end up watching and listing to things you discovered whilst there or perhaps even trying to discover new stuff to make it feel like you are still connected to the place that stole your heart. Perhaps you will even join an expat site, such as InterNations, in order to meet people from this place wherever you go afterwards in order to keep in touch with the language and culture.
4. You miss the food you could only get there
When thinking about culture, we mustn't forget about food, which is a large part of the culture of many countries. Like your home town, your adopted home will have had its own traditional food, which either just isn't the same elsewhere or is downright impossible to find. After a certain amount of time living somewhere, you will almost certainly learn to love its dishes no matter how strange they may have seemed to you when you first arrived.
If you start to feel the pangs of homesickness for your second home, perhaps you will even try to make these delicacies. This could either work out really well or leave you feeling disappointed and more homesick than ever. But maybe you should take the risk; it will be a culinary adventure at the very least.
5. You feel crazy but the homesickness does make sense
Whilst you might sound a bit crazy explaining that you are homesick for a place other than your original home to someone who has never lived elsewhere, there are many people around the world who understand your situation. I have met people who have lived in too many places to count and are homesick for each one all at the same time. Once you settle in a place and grow to truly appreciate the culture there, it becomes a part of you and your character in a way that will never go away and without the little quirks that exist only in that place you will feel a slight emptiness. But you know that you would do it all again in a heartbeat because the amazing experiences you had during your time there have made you who you are today.