"Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit."
W. Somerset Maugham
I have, unintentionally, let my 35th birthday (a month ago) pass me by. I have been skating between my "conventional" yuppie day job and my word whoring, er...I mean...ghostwriting gigs, which I work on between breaks and in the evenings. On my birthdays, I usually treat myself to something I don't permit myself to indulge in. This year, I told myself: "I'll take care of it (my birthday)next week." "Next week" turned into "7 weeks later."
Since my birthday also happens to be close to my ten-year anniversary as an expatriate, I have been swept over by this insidious bastard of an emotion, the bane of every expatriate's existence called homesickness. It seems to strike a lot of longtime expats during the ten-year mark. I definitely was not exempted. After a decade of living overseas as an adult, I can safely sum it up as something like this: homesickness is as elusive as the horizon. Just when you think you have come close to grasping and mastering its essence, you realize, sooner or later, that you are nowhere near it as you had initially thought. It is during this moment of realization where you begin to entertain the thought that perhaps, Johannes Wolfgang von Goethe had you, instead of Faust, in mind when he wrote these words:
"And here, poor fool, with all my lore I stand no wiser than before."
For those of us who choose the expatriate life, we find ways to handle our bouts of homesickness. A friend of mine, a fellow expat from New York, deals with her bouts of homesickness by watching her DVD set of Friends, Seinfeld and Woody Allen films. So how did a recently-turned-35-year-old expat woman treat herself for homesickness and her birthday? She binges on classic American junk food. Let's just say that my hips, thighs and waistline's girth are directly proportional to the intensity of my homesickness. The formula would be something like this:
Let h=hips, t=thighs, w=waistline, H=homesickness;
H=thwk, where k is constant
Phew! I still remember my algebra at the ripe old age of 35!
For the longest time, I have been lusting after the smoothest, richest, milkiest and creamiest BJ to go with a threesome-me, Ben and Jerry.