As I took off from a foggy airport at an indecently early hour, my heart started bouncing up and down. I rested my head on the window and watched the sunrise from above the sky, while the plane was speeding towards its destination. Home, finally, back home!!! And then another thought hit me: my wanderlust seems to have been slowly replaced by what I decided to call “homelust”. It is not quite about the same as being homesick, it is just a beautiful desire to be back home. Or as we say in Romanian: “un dor de casă”.
And when I simply didn’t find my place anywhere else, I decided not to wander further, but to go where I truly belong.
I am going to spend in Romania more than two weeks and hope keeping up to date my blog more often than ever before. Currently, I am in Cluj-Napoca (NW of Romania, in the region called Transylvania).
The plan is that, in few days, I will move up towards the North, in Maramures, and then will end up in Moldova (Bucovina part, the North-East of Romania). Keep on checking the blog to see how this evolves and in what troubles I might get. My friends make fun of me for keeping too tight of an agenda. Therefore, things are pretty loose in this trip.
But going back to the idea of homelust, I also got to ask myself why?! Why is it my country of origin still so deeply grounded in my being?! How come being on this soil simply feels so right?! In seven years since I live abroad I got to understand. Of course, research studies will show that homeland reminds you of childhood, good times and you need an identity (and that will always be your nation’s, hopefully). But beyond that, here are the reasons that got me more and more often the homelust feeling.
Because far away brings you closer
When you live for years abroad, the feeling of uprooting sometimes overwhelms you. You basically don’t belong to the new, adopting, place and slowly you also lose touch with your friends and your country.
In my seven years abroad, I got to count on a single hand with how many people from back home I am still close. This is the curse of an expat. But this also gets you closer to where you come from, the land you have left, no matter the reason (study, work or even simply travel…). When you are back home, you finally loosen up, you blend, you are surrounded by familiar things.
Many of my friends tell me I over-romanticize the idea of Romania, and that might be true, but what is wrong with that?!
Because you see things changing more than others
And this brings me to my next point. Why do we, people living abroad, believe so much more our country of origin? One of the reasons is that we see things differently. We see how the country changes and how it evolves. Every time I come back home, I find people complaining and that is just normal. When you live in one place, you tend to see more the faults and you might also lose sight of the progress.
Each and every time I come back home, I discover something new, something good: a new place in town, a street that has been transformed, a neighborhood that is rising, a brand new community. Romania has changed so much in the past years and I am enjoying being back home each and every time (might I add, more and more…)
Because my language is my identity
One hot summer evening, sitting on a terrace, a friend asked me
– In what language do you dream?
– I guess English, I replied.
That was disappointing, but true. Of course, my English is not perfect, but I use it 80% of the time. There were periods when I was not using Romanian for days and days. At some point, I realised I was forgetting words. But Romanian language remained though the simplest and the most natural way for me to express anything. And I figured this out when my friend asked a follow-up question
– But then, in what language does your heart rejoice or cry? (In ce limba iti plange sau ti se veseleste sufletul?)
– In Romanian, always in Romanian. And I started crying
The language, the sound, the jokes, the words of joy or sorrow, they all make so much more sense to me in Romanian. And I guess, when coming back home, I recover a little piece of my identity.
Because traveling proves where you belong
When you travel and discover new places and cultures, you get the exciting feeling of getting more knowledge about the world you live in. Yes, it is an amazing feeling, the wanderlust, the wish to go further and for as long as possible.
For me, it also brought the feeling of not actually belonging to any of those places. I did experience, visit, enjoy, but anywhere I went, deep in my heart, I compared everything with my country. This is the honest truth, which might not apply to many.
As awesome as traveling sounds, it brought in me the, as I like to call it, “homelust”.
When you want to say a joke, but it makes sense only in your own language?! When you wish others would understand the tradition you were raised in?! When you feel like simply be and just do things the “Romanian“ way?! When you meet yet another person mixing Bucharest with Budapest?! (true story…)
Well, these are the moments when you are tired and you simply want to be back home, among your people. Because even if sometimes they are unfriendly, they are still your people and that can mean the world for one.
These are, in short, the reasons why, at a crossroad in my life, I came back home. And since my heart knows how to best cry and rejoice in Romanian, I am going to do exactly that for the next days.
I am also looking forward to share with you my travel experience, interesting things, local tips I found useful.
So keep on reading. As always cu dor de duca, with wanderlust!