Homesickness: Or how I learned to stop worrying and looked forward to going home

I still have time left in DC.  Two more weeks at my internship (okay, two more 4-day work weeks), as well as three more TWC Friday events, with three more weekends.  And a Monday.

If you can’t tell – I’m getting a little anxious to leave.  If you’d talked to me a month ago, I would have been gung-ho about staying in DC for the summer, convinced I wasn’t going back to Montana until the day or two before fall classes started.

Yeah – I’ve definitely changed.

Don’t get me wrong – I did look into staying in DC for the summer (and it’s still an option – just one that shrinks by the day).  I did the Craigslist hunt for an affordable apartment, quickly learning that my dollar goes a lot farther in Montana than it does in DC.  Seriously guys – Montana rent is so much cheaper than DC.  Just to compare:  $375 gets me an apartment with all utilities, internet, and cable in Montana.  In DC – $450 would get me a bed and room for nothing else, utilities partially included, in a bad part of town.  I also applied for a buttload of summer internships.  But again: a couple of snags.  I needed a paid position (to pay for my overpriced and undersized apartment) and those are few and far between.  Another issue – most of the internship deadlines were back in February, during my first month in DC and long before I considered staying in DC.  For the positions that had later deadlines in April or May, those positions wouldn’t start until late May or early June – too late for me to just hang around in DC without a job.  The biggest issue though – my lack of experience.  DC is a place where you need at least a Bachelor’s degree.  Most positions wanted me to either have or be working towards a Master’s degree.  So . . . that’s an issue.

I don’t want to blame my lack of a summer internship on the hiring places – I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I’m not a qualified candidate.  But it is a bit of a shock, realizing how much weight DC puts on a degree.  Especially for interns.  That’s what I’m starting to love about applying back in Montana – they let their students be students, and they let their interns be inexperienced.

But speaking in broader, non-job/non-house related terms:  I just miss Montana.

But I miss home.  Not just the mountains, not just the ability to get out doors.  Not just my car and my bed and my stuff (I came to DC with two suitcases, okay?  90% of my clothes are back home) – but all of it.  I miss living in my own room, without a roommate to battle for the shower lights out time.  I miss my friends, and I miss being able to call up someone to just go hang out.  That’s not to say I haven’t made friends in DC – I have.  My roommates are great people, I’ve clicked with some of my classmates, and there are a few people who I know I’ll definitely keep in contact with after this whole program is over.

But I went from Helena to Missoula and took a good chunk of friends with me.  Most of my good friends in college were people I knew in high school, or people I quickly clicked with during freshman year.  It’s weird, leaving behind friendships that I’ve been building for 2+ years and come to DC, where no one knows anyone (okay, that’s a lie – some schools here bring in 10+ students.  I’m the only student from my state, so my situation is a little different).

I miss home.  I miss the comforts I was used to, comforts I can’t reproduce here for various reasons: I can’t put down some roots (for example – I’m wary of buying anything I can’t eat simply because I’ll be flying out in a couple weeks and my suitcase was already stuffed when I came here), and friendships are tricky when you know you’ll both be leaving soon.  It took a couple months, but I’ve finally developed that homesickness that hit people I know a lot sooner.

I’ve loved DC – I’ve met great people, I’ve done awesome things (both in terms of job and personal), and I’ve got to experience things here that can never be recreated elsewhere.

But I’ve also realized that DC – it’s a city I like to visit.  Not a city I permanently want to settle in.

So Montana:  I’ll see you in a few weeks.  And I can’t wait.

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