We are in month two of the world race and I am more homesick than ever. It could be from the fact we went from all squad month (everyone on our team living in one place) to small team month (small groups of about 6-7 people). I was separated from some of the people who made me feel comfortable or at home which is super hard. We stay in contact every single day which helps, but sometimes it is also hard to stay present. We lived in a homeless shelter last month and worked with recovering addicts as well as going out and serving the people on the streets.
There were 25+ girls living in one tiny area with one bathroom and a freezing shower. We slept on the floor in sleeping bags and had the same cheese pastry for breakfast every morning. In my second month of ministry, we have a group of six living in an apartment with two bathrooms, wifi, warm water, and we get to make our own food. I still miss month one because sometimes people distract you from the challenges surrounding your life and I am so thankful I found those people at the beginning of my race.
I never thought I would be a full-time missionary like this. In high school, after I did my first two-week mission trip to Rwanda, I wanted to move to another country after college and dedicate my life to missions. I knew that God had a different plan for me. That's why I feel like The World Race was my compromise with God. I get to dedicate a year of my life to serving him and traveling the world. I just never knew that even at the age of 21 (well almost 22) I would be missing home as much as I do. Lately, the weirdest things have been comforting to me and a lot of it are things I barely gave attention to at home. Here are the five things that keep me going when I am feeling homesick:
1. "Friends:" The TV Show
Weirdly, I have the urge to watch this show every night. I never watched it at home, but every time I watch it here, it brings me so much comfort. I tried to figure out why, but I think it's just because it's such a big deal in America. I watch an episode before I go to bed at night and it brings me so much peace. It could just be missing quiet time alone (you don't really get that out here), but I am so thankful that something as small as a show on Netflix could stop the tears from coming.
2. My Community
My friends and family are killing the game at making me feel like I never really left. Sometimes I hear people on the Race saying their families called crying because they miss them or sometimes it is hard to communicate with home because everyone is upset, but I don't have that problem. My parents text me daily and they act like I'm back in Arizona. My friends and I have a group chat where we talk about drama at home, boys, and all the girl things… you would think it would make me miss home but really, it brings me so much joy that nothing will change when I get home because I never really left "the loop."
3. Backseat Driving
No, I'm not yelling at the person driving. That would be hard considering we speak different languages. I mean that before ministry or just on random travel days, we have to drive for an hour or more. I literally love sitting in the back, plugging in music I listened to at home, and zoning out. One of the main things I missed about America was driving and singing loudly in my car alone. It was my ME time and I drove so much back at home. What if I don't know how to drive when I get back to America!?!?
4. Country Music
Weirdly enough, you heard It right. I BARELY listened to country music at home, but if you turn on Kane Brown, Dan + Shay, or Sam Hunt, I am immediately crying. It could be the fact I am from the southwest, but I truly don't know where that comes from. Maybe I have memories linked to those songs?? If you know the answer, let me know.
Speaking of memories. Memories are one of the greatest things that bring me comfort. I love looking through old videos or photos and reminiscing on last year or my last semester of college. You would think that would make me sad, but it actually doesn't. It makes me realize I can make more of those memories when I come home around Christmas time (I am staying maybe a month longer after the race to explore, don't want to scare any parents expecting to see their kids before Thanksgiving). Sometimes I journal about older memories that bring me joy just to remind myself there are so many reasons in life to be grateful and that I won't be gone forever.
These are five things that help me cure my homesickness! What helps you?