I own red shoes. So, naturally, one day when we were discussing homesickness with friends, I closed my eyes, and clicked together my scarlet heels whilst reciting, ‘There’s no place like home’ three times. I don’t think anyone understood the reference; It’s from The Wizard of Oz. If you haven’t seen it yet…there’s next Sunday night all planned out. My friends have gotten used to my eccentricities by now – They don’t question such behaviour anymore. Nevertheless, Dorothy got it right. No matter how wonderful Stockholm is and no matter how flawed my country may be – there simply is no place like home.
Stockholm is a colourful and inviting city. I have met so many amazing people during the three months I have been here. I have delighted in every moment of it. I don’t honestly believe that homesickness is about what is better – it’s about what you grew up with. And I grew up speaking French, eating freshly–baked almond croissants and walking in the forest by my house every Sunday. I miss all of these things. I suspect a lot of the people in KI have their own list of familiar comforts, shorter or a bit longer. Perhaps, they too look forward to ticking those items off come Christmas break.
Luckily, KI is an incredibly international community. The chances of you finding someone from your country, or at least who speaks your language are like 99%. In my class, there are two people that did their undergraduate years at the same university in Poland – just saying. This is a genuine advantage and a comfort. Furthermore, most of us are international students. We all find it hard at times to deal with differences in culture, in temperature (yikes!) or in language. But, we’re all in the same boat (one long fun party cruise) and can laugh off our cultural blunders together or help each other out when things get tough.
None of this homesickness talk means I want to move back home though. I have already lived four years abroad and count on living many years away from France. Homesickness is just a minor side effect of embarking upon an exciting and eye-opening adventure. I’m aware that as soon as I get home (and treat myself to a walk in the woods and a bag of almond croissants) I will quickly turn to the task of explaining to family and friends the concepts of ‘fika’, ‘latte papas’ or ‘lagom’ – and be greeted with incomprehension. Then, I will feel homesick once more. Ultimately, home is where the heart is. And damn you, Stockholm, it seems you have already crept your way into mine.