Katie Zinser: Week 6

KATIE doesn’t normally get homesick. But, sometimes, there’s no place like it…

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I’ve never been sentimental about being away from family. To quote a nugget of wisdom from my lovely sister, ‘I miss you much more when I’m with you than when I’m not’. Paradoxical, yet somehow true…out of sight, out of mind.  Anyway, my parents have been divorced for years, so the domestic ideal has somewhat lost its shine. Two houses equals double the homesickness, and as any mathmo will tell you, two positives cancel each other out. Ergo I don’t get homesick. The logic is flawless.

Except, apparently I do. All of a sudden, in the last few days, I really miss my mummy and daddy.  I cried coming off the phone to my mum the other day, and after my dad came up for a very brief visit on Wednesday I had to stop myself running after the car as he left, like a pathetic oversized toddler left with a dodgy babysitter.

My only home-based concern used to be the occasional panic that the cats won’t recognise me anymore when I come home.  I used to rest assured in the knowledge that my parents will probably still recognise me upon my return, and so everything was peachy and there was no need for tears.

But now all sorts of needy insecurities are creeping in. What if I’m too old for cuddles? What if my mum stops making me spaghetti carbonara when I’m sad? What if they let out my room to a smelly old man and box up Bear, Lionel the lion, Woofy and pudgy bunny?

What’s more, I realised this week that being here makes me a bit of a selfish arse. My mum had an operation on Monday and I was too wrapped up in an ‘essay crisis’ to realise a) that it was fairly serious, particularly compared to the pretentious piece of shit about mass culture I had produced and b) all the rest of my family, despite being further away and busier, had managed to come and be with her. So, in true Zinser style, I cried some more and began to pine for my old life where my family – and not a self-destructive cycle of books and wine – were the most important part of my life.

It’s all made worse by the fact that I have to start facing up to being an adult. I’m surrounded by career-driven, internship-applying future investment bankers, constantly reminding me of the fact that I have no idea what I want to do, or what I want to do about it. I’m rapidly being dragged out of my comfort zone of pocket money and marks out of 10 into a world of job applications and bill paying, where I don’t know my place and I don’t know what I’m good at. I don’t want to apply to internships because I’m terrified of the fact that I’ll probably get rejected.  Compared to half the people here, I feel as if my CV is emptier than Tuesday night at Life.

Combine all this with a desperate need for the wholesome family home after too many debauched nights in Life, and you have a perfect recipe for homesickness.  Even with cushy student life to soften the transition, the novelty of being an adult is already starting to wear off.  Independence is sweet, but right now I’d trade bad wine and push-up bras for slipper socks and a cuddle with mum in a heartbeat.