It’s been 1 year and 4 months since I was last home. Home – for me – means South Africa. Specifically, Pretoria, South Africa. It’s located here:

And no, it’s not a short trip up to Egypt. It’s far. It’s like traveling from Mexico to Canada, maybe further. I mention it because I get asked a lot. And while I am bad at math and thus also bad at measuring distances I know it is definitely far.

My big, fat, loud, dramatic, wonderful, rambunctious South African family of two parents, 4 brothers, 1 sister, 1 sister-in-law and 1 nearly sister-in-law, several fish, and an array of dogs all live there. And that’s not even counting the extended family.

It’s been 1 year and 4 months since we saw them last.

The last time were were home Micah was this size (meeting his aunt and uncle for the first time):

Now he is this size:

I think, as measured in baby pounds, that is like we have been away from home for a good 15 pounds or so!

1 year, 4 months and 15 pounds give or take since this picture was taken.

That’s my oldest son, Jackson (left) on the shoulders of my brother. He was actually born in South Africa. And that’s one of my other brothers, Karabo (right) on the shoulders of my dad.

Karabo is Jackson’s uncle. Jackson doesn’t quite get that. He just figures Karabo is his BIG brother and Micah is his LITTLE brother. He and Karabo have been best friends since birth – Jackson’s birth that is.

Jackson talks about Karabo every day. Jackson assumes every airplane he sees is headed to South Africa. Jackson washes himself in the bath tub at night in meticulous imitation of precisely how Karabo always bathed himself. Jackson sends gifts to Karabo. Like cool T-shirts. We always buy one for Karabo and one for Jackson. (Sometimes I forget to buy one for Micah too – he’s actually wearing Karabo’s here before we sent it to South Africa).

Look, it arrived safe and sound and was promptly put to good use:

Homesickness is like fatigue. You feel vaguely uneasy and a little disconnected from everything. It makes you feel like you’ve forgotten something, but you just can’t remember what. It’s the reason you think you recognize people only to realize just before you call out their name that it’s the wrong country and so it couldn’t possibly be who you hoped it was.

Homesickness ebbs and flows. I’m in a flow phase. My boss just came back from a business trip to South Africa. I had sent a grocery list with her. She arrived this morning with all my favorites. I am surrounded by them. And still my insides feel empty and my heart a little achey breaky.

You’d think after decades of living inbetween countries you’d get used to it. Overall, you do. But some days, homesickness just sprouts up out of nowhere like chicken pox and it’s best to avoid others until you are no longer contagious. Chicken soup, however, will probably not help. These cases are best treated with coca-cola and chocolate. At least that’s been my experience. What’s yours? Any tips from frequent travellers out there on how to beat the homesick blues? Because I’m in the market for some new remedies! (besides the obvious solution – you know – buying a plane ticket and hauling ourselves home pronto!)