I'm not sure why this birthday is so sucky, or why I'm weepy, or why I hate being reminded that I'm a year older. Birthdays have never bothered me.
But this year is a hard one, and I don't know why. It's not even a milestone year, like turning 21 or 30 or 40. It's a regular birthday. My birthday comes over summer holiday, so I'm usually traveling, and I'm usually not in the States to celebrate with my friends and family there.
I rarely get homesick. I travel home once or twice a year, sometimes once every two years. Having lived abroad for going on nine years, home is where I hang my hat; I am a citizen of the world.
But lately I've been homesick for Pennsylvania farm country in June. For the corn starting to sprout. For Mom's homemade bread. For Grandma and Pappy, for my little niece and nephew, for my sister putting trick candles on the cake, and everyone laughing because I can't blow them all out. Maybe it would just be nice to be around the folk who've known me for longer than a few months and who've seen me grow through all the awkward stages, who understand my fickle nature, and who have grown to expect my moodiness, rather than be surprised by it. Maybe I made a mistake in choosing not to go back to the States for part of my summer holiday.
Don't get me wrong: I love living Somewhere in Asia. I love that last week I had a dinner party in my new house with Italians and Brits and Germans, and not a single other American. I love that I have a community of friends from other countries who widen my eyes to other perspectives, some of whom I imagine I'll stay connected to even after we leave the country.
It's just that I'm leaving one community of friends who I love dearly in this country Somewhere in Asia, and I don't want to leave them, even though it's so see another lovely group of study pals who I haven't seen for a year. I feel torn three ways: between the city of Y., the town of Plymouth, and the county where I have my roots.
So for those of you in Y. who saw me all weepy last night at the Italian birthday dinner, forgive me. (Thanks, Hot Chick, for organizing the dinner. You're the best.) I'm having a short, momentary, emotional episode that will soon pass.
I'm just feeling a little fragile at the moment, and I'm not sure exactly why. I'll be back to my strong, shining self sometime soon.