I’m not usually one to get homesick. Being away from home in a new place excites me, and I always know home will be there, my bedroom just as I left it and my dogs eager to jump and whine upon my return. But being in Buenos Aires isn’t like going to summer camp or moving away to college. It’s not just new people and different activities, but an entirely new reality with different rules and norms. It’s living without the milk you are used to. Without chocolate chip cookies or customer service. Communicating in a foreign language has become ordinary, normal. But it is the small things that I never thought I’d miss until I didn’t have them.
Yesterday, I set out on an expedition to find a Subway. (Not a means of transportation, but the sandwich store.) When I finally stepped inside, I was overwhelmed with nostalgia and a feeling of comfort that comes with ingrained familiarity. The tantalizing smell of freshly baked Subway bread and the boldly printed posters in recognizable fonts made me feel like I had stepped through a portal to the U.S. Though I was in a hurry, I was tempted to linger inside this store, seemingly unbound by earthly coordinates. For the few minutes inside Subway, I wasn’t in Buenos Aires, but rather existing within a fond fragment of my own memory that had been unearthed. It’s odd that it took a trace of home to remind me how much I miss it. It’s not that American food or customs are better or that life here lacks something. There’s just a profound comfort in being surrounded with things you’ve always known — a security of sorts. When it’s taken away, it’s like finding your way in an unrecognizable reality. I am dreading the imminent end of my program, but at the same time I can’t wait to sink back into the familiar normalcy of being home.