Feb 252012
Speaking of Home and Homeland

When we are home, we don’t need to talk about it. To feel at home is to know that things are in their places and so are you; it is a state of mind that doesn’t depend on an actual location. The object of [nostalgic] longing, then, is not really a place called home but this sense of intimacy with the world; it is not the past in general, but that imaginary moment when we had time and didn’t know the temptation of nostalgia. When we start speaking of […] Continue reading >

Nov 212011
Staropramen Is Prague in a Bottle...Almost

There is no shortage of Czech beer brands in the U.S., at least not in Portland, Oregon. Pilsner Urquell is unsurprisingly ubiquitous, both on tap and bottled. The real Budweiser (Budvar), sold here in individual 0.5l/16.9 oz bottles as Czechvar, has in the past few months become a staple in Safeway’s and Fred Meyer’s beer coolers. Lion (Lev), Rebel, Žatec, Primátor, and Bakálař brands are all available at beer ’boutiques’ or international grocery stores. But to discover Staropramen Lager (courtesy of my hockey buddy Brian Schmonsees) was like discovering […] Continue reading >

Nov 182011
We Hold Our Food Truths to Be Self-Evident

This is a reprint, with permission, of “Food Truths: Taquerias and Cherry Pie”, an essay my wife Lindsay Sauvé wrote and published on her blog Blue Palate on September 24. Everyone has their food truths, and immigrants and transplants in the U.S. are no exception. In fact, being away from home may accentuate your food truth, make it even truer, so to speak. What’s your food truth? *** There is no lentil soup like my mother’s lentil soup, no sour cherry pie like my grandmother’s, certainly no sauerkraut like my father-in-law’s. […] Continue reading >

Nov 162011
How to Be Homesick Without Going Crazy: Action

Stressful situations like homesickness (see previous post) elicit two basic responses: fight or flight. You can confront your homesickness by getting angry, argumentative, or violent (if you’ve ever wanted to punch someone who doesn’t know where your country is located, you know what I’m talking about). Or you can try to get away from it with the help of drugs/alcohol or social withdrawal. I say there’s a third way: embrace your homesickness. Wherever You Go, There You Are* Each and every method below rests on a single prerequisite: accept your reality. […] Continue reading >

Nov 142011
How to Be Homesick Without Going Crazy: Understanding

When as a transplant you find yourself far away from everything you know, you’re bound to get homesick from time to time. Because I don’t enjoy feeling homesick, I looked back at how I’ve not only combated but also embraced my homesickness and, I hope, turned it into something positive. To deal with something, one must understand it. This first of two posts will examine homesickness as a phenomenon. What’s homesickness all about? What a Feeling, Bein’ Homesick’s Believin’ The Oxford Dictionary defines being homesick as “experiencing a longing for one’s […] Continue reading >