Mentorship August 22, 2017
Or have you just been away for too long?
After a long day of work, I went home and checked my mail. In my mailbox, alone, I found a huge envelope with the address of the sender standing out to me in bold. Home Sweet Home.
It was a letter from home. Without a beat, I started crying. I couldn’t stop. I miss home and my Swiss cows. And than I started thinking, did I really miss home or is it just that the absence of it made me love it more? They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and sometimes I wonder if it’s true.
You see, my hometown is Les Diablerets, Switzerland. If you haven’t heard of it, don’t worry. It’s a tiny little village in the Alps. Ever since I left it to live in the United States, I’ve missed it constantly. I miss everything Swiss. Yet when I’m there, I’m thankful that I don’t live there anymore, because, well… there really isn’t any work for me there.
So why is it when we leave a place that we never thought of as home before we left, we long for it?
Does the absence of something we are so familiar with really make us fonder?
The origin of the expression, starts back with the Romans. A Poet by the name of Sextus Propertius from Umbria, Italy coined it in his “Elegies.” In Book II of his Elegis Sextus Propertius states, “Always Toward Absent Lovers Love’s Tide Stronger Flows.”
Although Sextus Propertius was talking about love for an individual, the same rules can apply for a location.
The more modern and current version of the expression was published in “The Pocket Magazine of Classic and Polite Literature,” 1832, in a piece by a Miss Stickland.
Well… It’s beautiful! How could you not miss that?
But on a more serious note, when I was home, I never missed anything that was Swiss. To the contrary, I wanted to escape and see something new.
So let’s compare it to a romantic, long-distance relationship and see why some elements can be applicable to missing a location.
According to a study done at Cornell University, individuals in those type of relationships tend to idealize their partners. So, seeing as you kind of have a sort of “relationship” with your hometown, consider that my partner for this argument. Since I’m away from it, I’ve been idealizing my hometown, and only remembering all of the good things that I love and miss. We long for things that we no longer have access to.
Ever since I’ve left Switzerland, my love for cheese has increased, double, triple — even quadrupled what it previously was. To be honest, the cheese culture in America is still not where it belongs.
In fact, my knowledge about cheese has drastically increased since I’ve been in the US. Why, you ask? Primarily because I’m constantly seeking to recreate a Fondue similar to that of the taste of my home sweet home fondue.
So my search to recreate home makes me obsess over Switzerland more, and therefore makes me miss it even more.
Overall, I think the phrase proves to be true. No matter what type of relationship. My absence from Switzerland does make me miss it more. I think it’s that absence, that lack of “something,” that makes us who we are.
My home has made me who I am, and so therefore, I miss being me.
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