It doesn’t really hit you at first. A new place, exciting new things, the whirlwind of a new job. There’s no time to think about or miss home. You phone everyone, of course. It is good to talk to them and good to see faces, but you are happy to be here.
Then you have that moment. You see someone you love out of the corner of your eye and turn, but of course it’s not them. Why would they be in China? And you twinge inside. You miss them, and move on. Slowly homesickness settles over you like a cloak as you see things that remind you of loved ones and home. It becomes an almost familiar, comforting feeling.
You finally reach a point where you feel your cloak burrowing into your skin. It starts to suffocate you and all that comes out are hysterical sobs.
To waylay this feeling I buy things for my family. There’s a small collection of Christmas presents hiding in a drawer in my desk.