Well, it’s been a month as of today that I have been here and I am really feeling far away; I am not homesick, just very far away from the life I used to live which, when you are by yourself can lead to some interesting moments.
One thing I have to keep me grounded when I am feeling overwhelmed by being away from my friends, family, the beach, basically every aspect of my life that is now different; is music.
I seriously believe that music is the best time capsule. It can literally to take you right back to the actual thing you were feeling at a certain time. I honestly can go back to anytime in my life by listening to a particular song. Sometimes they remind me of an amazing love, time, place or moment in my life (i.e. all the music I used to listen to on my runs from Moonlight to Cardiff take me back to the feeling of being at the beach) and of course there are other songs that remind me of a broken heart like “Could’ve Been” (Tiffany) when my childhood crush decided he wasn’t going to ride the bus with me to Rye Playland and instead with one of my best friends. (to be honest the smell of Obsession also reminds of that too!) Tiffany, Eternity and Obsession ... that basically sums up teen years of dating on Long Island for me and I am sure most of my NY friends. All the girls wore Eternity and all the boys wore Obsession. Speaking of nauseous, I also have songs that literally make me nauseous, like “Crazy for You” (Madonna). This was first song I ever slow danced to. I was so nervous before it; I almost threw up (seriously!). Anyway, I have always thought music was such a cool thing to have to capture memories, happiness, strength or remind you of a love you had for someone or yourself and go back to it when you need it. I have been so thankful to have this as an escape when I feel kind of alone on the other side of the world. I think just hearing something familiar that coincides with a familiar feeling is what is so comforting about a song. It’s kind of like when people travel to different countries and eat at McDonalds; people are naturally drawn to the familiar/comfortable. In my case, I can honestly say I have yet to eat at McDonalds here, but it’s nice to have the solace of my iPod when I need it!
Another random example that actually prompted me to write about this tonight was an experience I had today. I was in the mall and I just needed a couple t-shirts to workout in (and some other random stuff). There is no Gap (even though 80% of their clothes are manufactured here!) or any stores that just have basics here (well, at least that I have found). I was getting so frustrated that I wasn’t able to find anything I was looking for and thinking about how easy it is in the U.S. I was definitely “having a moment”. (to clarify: having a moment = I almost started crying because I couldn’t find deodorant in a mall with 100 stores). Just then, I leave one of the stores I was in, I hear these two American guys singing “I’m Yours” in the middle of the mall with a crowd of people around them. “Ahhh… music I know.” It was just what I needed at that moment. What was funny is that, it’s what I needed at that moment, but I think I was probably the only person in the entire audience (5 story mall with people on all floors looking down) that knew what the heck songs these guys were singing. They were playing Jack Johnson, John Mayer type songs (they were actually really good!) and I kept looking around and laughing to myself at everyone’s reaction to this type of music. The woman that looked like she put this whole thing together mouthed to one of the guys “play something really fast!” I have mentioned this before; people here love really fast and extremely loud music. It’s actually kind of cool how much music is a part of life here. Anywhere you go, there is always music playing. Most of the time it will be one of three things; Either “Down” by Jay Sean (this recently replaced “I Gotta Feeling” in the last week or so on the India playlist) a song from a movie soundtrack, or a random song from the 90’s (one of those that you say, OMG, I haven’t heard this song in forever. I will let you know if I hear any Tiffany or old Madonna; that would be awesome; and to be honest, I wouldn’t be that surprised).
As much as I have been reverting back to old music for comfort, I am starting to switch out songs on my iPod with new one’s (even some Bollywood songs!) and what’s funny is that I already know that someday I will listen to these new songs when I am back in the U.S. or whenever I go next and I will say “oh, this song reminds me of when I lived in India”.