... dance, fitness, food, health, life...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Adventures in Chicago: Homesick

It's official: I'm homesick.

I miss my apartment, my bathroom, my kitchen, my bed. I miss the mountains. I miss the Colorado sun and the intense heat their getting right now. I miss my friends, my family, my coworkers. I miss my bike. I miss my car. I miss So You Think You Can Dance.

I know I'm being a whiner... I've tried staying positive, I've tried to remind myself of the good things - I'm learning a ton, I'm getting AWESOME experience, and I'm getting a glimpse into what life is really like for a working dancer, something I wouldn't be getting if I wasn't doing this intensive - but my frustrations are real, and it wouldn't be fair to myself to pretend that they're not there. And pretending everything is just dandy when it's really not is exhausting. I'm too tired from the intensive to exert what little I have left into pretending!

I'm lonely, too, which doesn't help matters. My friend D's schedule is opposite of mine, so we don't really see each other during the week. And he has his own life - it's not his job to entertain me on the weekends. The friends I'm making at the intensive are scattered all over the city, so it's not easy meeting up with them, plus they have their own things going on, too. We only get one day off (Sunday), so we're all very particular about how we spend our time off.

I've been crying at night when I go to bed. I feel stuck between the homesick loneliness and feeling ashamed and guilty about feeling that way. And I'm disappointed by how little of Chicago I'm getting to see - in a weird way it makes me feel like I'm not doing anything, even though I'm working my ass off at the intensive. My daily schedule is usually this: I get up around 10 (that's an early day), eat, shower, go get coffee, dork around on the Internet as I try to wake up, try to move around to ease the soreness, eat some more, get ready for the night's classes and rehearsals, and then head to the studio... come home around 12:30 am, eat, shower, unwind so I can sleep, collapse into bed, and repeat. I thought I would sight see all over Chicago, getting to know the city, and maybe work a small part time job during the day, but because I'm not doing either, I feel lazy. Enter more guilt.

When my BFF drove me to the airport two weeks ago, she told me this would happen. She warned me to be prepared to go through some culture shock. I anticipated it, too, at least a little bit. When I sent her an email this morning sharing my woes with her, she reminded me that even though I'm not doing much more than the intensive, it's still a shock to be taken out of my home element and all that's familiar there - my daily routine, home itself, my friends and family, etc.

She also told me in her email that the emotions surrounding homesickness and culture shock are normal and nothing to feel guilty about. It's nothing I did, nothing I can control, and it's a normal part of the process of being plucked from my home environment. Okay. I feel like I need a way to recenter myself when I start feeling the loneliness creep in. I need to see familiar faces or hear their voices or something... I need to connect with people. I'm too social to fly solo for too long. I need someone to share my little daily adventures, mishaps and triumphs with!


  1. Jessi! Hang in there, girl. We love you and you're doing an badass job of not only dancing but LEARNING (and not just about dancing, either!) You just need to meet a friend. Lame as this sounds, maybe you should go out ... dancing. You know, for fun! xoxo Julie

  2. yeah is normal. don't feel guilty ...just let yourself feel. And hopefully it will pass soon. Oh I hope you feel better ASAP!

  3. so sorry to hear this. but it is ture. first time i went away for school across the country by myself, i cried for weeks.

  4. I hope it passes will for sure..I hope VERY SOON though :)

  5. hey! thanks for the comment, YES the chocolate place is ghirardelli! its on michigan ave down by the watertower area. if you really feel like going all out (which you should, because you're there!) splurge on the $8 brownie sundae...its seriously worth every cent for its chocolatey deliciousness!

  6. I moved from Washington to California all by myself, and it was one of the hardest things I ever did. The first year was the hardest, but now 11 years later...I am in love and completely feel at home.

    Also, you have an amazing best friend!