Home sickness can strike you down like lightning or it can creep in all melancholy-like, an emo teen slinking off to the basement bedroom to listen to Bauhaus. Tonight I can feel it: Bela Lugosi’s dead.
I love to travel for this emotion along with all the others. In this empty lonesomeness I’m made aware of what makes “home”.
I was sitting at my computer tonight doing many things which mostly centred around reading/watching/listening to things from home (The Globe and Mail/Survivor/Definitely Not the Opera on CBC Radio One) when my friend Zach sent me a message on Google Chat.
I met Zach on the same team I met Craig on – a mutt Toronto/Philly/Kansas/DC squad thrown together at the 2008 IGLFA World Cup Tournament in London. Zach turned out to be a skilled and encouraging goalie and, as I found out much later when he launched a smart and hilarious World Cup blog, a talented writer. Zach is also a voracious eater. Every picture I’ve seen of him includes a culinary co-star (like a mammoth burger, platter-sized pizza slices, or great tureens of soup). He’d read my previous post and wanted to give me some quick advice. Quick, because he was on his way to a pie-eating contest. I’m not making this up.
“There are, like, five words you need to know in Spanish,” he wrote.
“Vagina?” I guessed.
“Izquierda, derecha, cambio, atras y sigue,” he wrote. “Also vagina. You got that one right.”
Before I could copy and paste into Google Translate, Zach said, “With those five words, you can play soccer, and that’s all that matters.”
And with that, my home sickness vanished. Home is not a place. It’s the people we know and the people we are. I’m a soccer player, and that means that I have family all over the world. To not play is to be away from home. Dorothy had five words to take her home and so do I: left, right, change, back, follow.
Now, to find a game.