Homesickness, Comfort Food, & The Burden of Bittersweet

Homesickness.  It is psychosomatic and feels like the flu. My friend is moving to America  and talking about home made me really miss familiarity.

My childhood in a box.

She brought with her a box of the blue stuff. Powdered processed cheese is so sentimental.


My brother and sister-in-law came in town last week. It was amazing. I think my sister was here for about 3 minutes before she picked up the baby in one hand and a broom in the other. She’s incredible. Do you know what a blessing it is to hear, “I  fed Meredith at 4:30” or coming into a super clean kitchen and organised cabinets?  My brother is hilarious, helpful, and just a joy to be around. For the first time in a while, I saw my 6 year old as the girl before she immigrated. Confident. Happy. Settled. It blessed my heart and reminded me of what a big transition this has been for her too.  My husband and I got to take a breath, hold hands, sleep in and relax. We laughed, reminisced, and played games till late at night. But then they left, and going back to normal is hard.

Buy me flowers, buy me diamonds, buy me Rotel. Love you bro!


I’m wrestling with mixed emotions.  I was really struggling at the grocery store to find the ingredients I needed to make the Thanksgiving dishes that remind me of home. I  called my grandma.  She spoke of how her mom made each dish. I could hear my grandma missing her mom like I’m missing mine. Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays: food, family, faith & football.

Walking around the grocery store tonight, the clerks were so incredibly rude, and I left without essential ingredients for 4 of the side dishes I was going to make. But on the verge of tears in the store, I saw two friends that I never would have had the privilege of knowing if I didn’t live here. My neighbour caught me as I was unpacking my groceries at home.  I cried. She gave me a hug and then 30 minutes later showed up at my door with 2 of the ingredients I needed to make my grandmother’s dressing. I felt loved.

Conflicting emotions are so hard. I have a great community here and half our extended family is here.  I am so incredibly blessed and loved, and yet I yearn for my old normal, full of big family gatherings, fake cheese, traditions, and comfort food. It’s all so bittersweet, and I’ll never be able to have it all. No matter where I’m at, I’ll be missing one side of my family or the other, this or that, wide open spaces or quaint little villages.

I’m tempted to have a cup of tea, adopt the British stiff upper lip, and get on with it.  But instead, I am sitting  down with my grandma’s favourite hot drink, and watching  a Dallas Cowboy game from October. In church, we are talking about embracing all of our emotions, and I guess I’m putting this into practice.

Thanksgiving two years ago. Those are just some of the grandchildren on my dad’s side of the family! I love our big family.

Our church is talking about grief, loss, pain, and disappointment, and feeling all our feelings.  This has been incredibly relevant and worth a listen. Podcasts are here. 

And just for fun, my grandmother’s Wassail hot drink. Boil all the ingredients and enjoy. I don’t think the sugar is necessary and I add a bit more cinnamon. You really cannot mess this up. And since non-alcoholic apple cider wasn’t available (gripe), I substituted plain apple juice and it tasted just fine:

  •  2 qts apple cider
  • 2 c. orange juice
  • 2 c. lemon juice
  • 2 c. pineapple juice
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 Tblsp whole cloves

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