Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Novelty of Familiarity

One of the strangest habits to break after living abroad is learning not to get overly excited about things that remind you of home. In a foreign land your ears get accustomed to perking up at the mention of your hometown, or even just the sound of your native language. Sweatshirts with sports team logos and college colors seem to be written in neon lights.

These beacons are essential in combating homesickness. Wearing your home on your sleeve lets other people know a little bit about you, and can be especially helpful when you’re struggling to find any common ground to start with. It can lead to conversations based on mutual interests in completely unexpected places, and not just with fellow patriots- I found an Australian friend obsessed with the NBA!

And, if you can hold on to it, these little moments can help you see your hometown as someplace just as new and as wonderful as wherever you just visited. Just be prepared to feel like a kid in a toy store surrounded by a crowd of disinterested grown ups, or at least kids who already got everything last Christmas.

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