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Homesickness

Illustration: Lærke Gertz

As international students are preparing to arrive in Aarhus, I cannot help but remember how it was when I moved here five years ago. I have already talked about how it was to move here, and that is why today I will talk about the homesickness that can arise when you move away from somewhere.

France is my home country. It’s where most of my family lives, and it’s where I spent most of my formative years. Although I have moved around quite a bit before settling down in Aarhus and I am used to leaving places and missing them, when I get homesick for somewhere, it is for France.

As you may have guessed, food is on the top of my list of things I miss. There’s nothing quite like a croissant from the local bakery in the morning, or going to a café for lunch and having a “steak frites” and a glass of wine. French restaurants abroad are not like French restaurants in France. The homey food my grandmother makes is not on the menus in Aarhus. Even basic ingredients like yogurt are different. Supermarkets have entire aisles dedicated to yogurts, individual desserts, and an uncountable amount of cheeses… Every time I go back to France, I could spend hours in a supermarket looking at all the food I cannot find anywhere else. Even something like the tea section is humongous compared to the limited selection I find here – particularly verbena herbal teas. (If anyone knows where to find it, please let me know!)

Although I very much enjoy Danish pastries and cakes, going to a pâtisserie in France is an entirely different experience. I remember as a child, accompanying my parents to pick pastries for a weekend meal, and figuring out which pastry to get for each family member that would make them happy. Usually a millefeuille for my brother, an éclair au chocolat for my sister, a baba au rhum for my dad… Mom and I often changed our orders because we love most of those cakes anyway. And for lunch, we’d quickly eat our meal so we could get to the dessert we had been eagerly looking forward to.

Weekend family meals, in general, are also something I miss greatly. Sitting at the table all together and having (usually) a three-course meal, watching the news at the same time every day, and trying not to think about homework. When I see people in my neighborhood whose parents are visiting on a Saturday just to have lunch, that’s when I get the most homesick.

However, knowing that my mother lives near the place where I grew up, and my dad lives where we visited a lot is comforting. It means it is easy for me to go back to where I call home, be with the people I love, and see some of my favorite places.

At this point in my life, I cannot imagine living anywhere but in Aarhus, but that will not change the fact that France is still one of my homes, and it is a home I will always look forward to returning to.

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