“You’ll be less homesick if you bring your own sheets. Pillow too,” the director of the school told me.
Maybe he’s right—he’s dealt with a number of foreign English teachers before. But I can’t imagine my old dorm room bedding making me less homesick.
Not after I’ve already been out of the country for half of this summer. In the past, I’ve suffered from travel-related migraines, stomach ailments, and altitude sickness. Not homesickness. Ever.
Nevertheless, I packed sheets. Also a well-traveled rubber duck named Gritzie.
As I type, I’m in a Boeing 777 somewhere over British Columbia, Canada (vivid snow-capped mountains! deep blue rivers! I need to add this to my list of Places To Go!).
Somewhere in between watching “The Hunger Games” on the little screen in front of me and wishing The Princess Bride was available in Spanish, I keep stopping to peek out the window. It makes it seem like I’m really going somewhere.
Mexico seemed real. I’d been there before. I knew it existed. But when my plane lands after about thirty hours of travel (today? tomorrow? the day after tomorrow?) I’ll fully understand that Tokyo exists, too. And Guam. And Saipan.
A few hours after my plane lands, I’m scheduled to teach three English classes to junior high students, with lunch and “assembly” (chapel?) thrown into the mix. By Thursday night, I’m not sure I’ll even have the energy to throw a homesickness-preventing sheet over whatever mattress they give me.
Am I really traveling halfway around the world by myself to live for several weeks and teach classes to people whose cultures I’m not even marginally familiar with?
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
No, not alone.