Sucker punched

When home is too far away

Today I was having a good day in London; brunch with friends followed by a walk down Brick Lane and a coffee at Nude. The summer had stretched right out to the start of November (almost unheard of) and I was celebrating reaching 100,000 followers on Pinterest. Then homesickness sucker punched me. I was hit hard enough to make me blink back tears on a crowded London street.

Its not anything specific. Of course I miss my family, of course I miss the trees and attitude of New Zealand. But this was just the feeling of insurmountable distance. I was an entire planet away from home on a crowded street drinking coffee by myself. There is not a single thing that can be done to ‘get over’ this feeling, the only way to solve a feeling of distance is to lessen the distance. But when I am settled in London, and I love my life here, shortening the distance is not going to happen.

Far far away in London

Homesickness just sucks. There are times that you can predict it will hit you (Christmas, birthdays and the middle of winter when its summer at home), but being sucker punched is the worst of the lot. For the holidays and winter blues I can prepare, I can plan nice things to do and I can remind myself that in a few days it will all be over. But now I am just haunted by distance, the feeling of solid planet separating me from home.

I would love to know what flipped in my brain walking down a sunny street. What chemicals mixed to make me want to stop and tunnel through the planet. What was in that flat white?

I can understand smells, sights and sounds transporting you to another time and place, reminding you of what you are missing. But trust me when I say the smelly streets outside Liverpool Street Station held none of that.  Maybe it was a trick of the light, the long winter sunset somehow reminding me of home, or even just reminding me of other times of homesickness in London.

So what is a kiwi to do? In that sucker punch moment I had no joy in my heart for this beautiful crazy city. The historic sights, endless museums or quirky street art was not going to turn my attitude around. Instead I went back to my flat and I wrote this post. I feel  better for sharing this distance with my faceless audience. There is no magic pill, no solution, but by screaming into the wind I have pinned my homesickness to this post. And here it shall stay.

Moving to London is exhausting

9 Comments

  1. November 1, 2014 / 8:34 pm

    Oh hun I feel your pain! I’m going through a homesick patch at the moment – lots going on in NZ and I have this huge sense of missing it all. There are times when I literally want to burst into tears on the tube! Right now I am live streaming the ABs vs USA rugby commentary/score and laughing at the Kiwi-isms on screen 🙂 the little things help.

    • runawaykiwi@gmail.com
      November 2, 2014 / 2:11 pm

      Its especially hard when NZ is going into summer, all of a sudden Facebook is filled with beautiful outdoor shots! I’m also waiting for a colleague to bring me back Pineapple Lumps, thats sure to fix it!

  2. November 1, 2014 / 10:31 pm

    Oh no. I really hope that you’re feeling a bit better having written this. I’ve never experienced it myself so I can only sympathise and hope it passes.

    • runawaykiwi@gmail.com
      November 2, 2014 / 2:09 pm

      I feel a million times better for having written it (that and the wine and takeaways with the flat mate). 🙂

  3. November 2, 2014 / 8:20 pm

    My sucker punch moment is reading this! I haven’t been home in 6 years and I miss it so much!

  4. November 9, 2014 / 6:45 pm

    I definitely feel you on this one! I moved to London 8 months ago, so am still in those very early days. One day I will be flying along absolutely over the moon with life and the next I am hit with homesickness and can’t remember why I willingly choose to be so far away from my family.

    Most of the time though London and the lifestyle I have here wins out though 😉

    Emma x

  5. Caitlin
    November 12, 2015 / 8:55 am

    It is so comforting to know that others’ have felt this feeling. It has been my dream since I was a little girl to live in England, and even after 18 months here in London, I’m still struck by these moments of loss. That ‘sucker punch feeling’ still happens to me. I find it’s usually when you’re by yourself, having a beautiful moment, either you’ve seen something striking or you’re drinking a gorgeous coffee and you realise you wish you could share this piece of happiness with home. That’s when I’m struck by not so much the distance, but the time difference. For even if I were to send a text, email or Facebook message, there will be no reply for several hours. And that can feel isolating.