I hate goodbyes. So when I saw the movie Brooklyn, I was weeping within the first five minutes. And I did a lot of weeping thereafter, forcing the woman next to me to snort, sigh, pick up her popcorn and leave.

Nasty, unsentimental bitch.

The movie opens with Eilis hugging her Mama and sister, boarding a ship bound for America. She’s leaving because she has to escape the small Irish town that holds nothing for her.

She leaves behind everything that she knows.

The boat trip is awful.  Settling down is awful. She’s young, naive and very very homesick.

She imagined it would be easier. Brooklyn, after all, is a second home for the Irish.

But Brooklyn is nothing like home. There is no family, no best friend and no-one who understands who she is or where she comes from.

Everything is unfamiliar.

The movie is all about identity, love and belonging.  It is about the importance of our birthplace and the things that shape us into the people we are today. It’s about what we know, how we adapt to change and about broken hearts.

And this is why I wept.

I remember very clearly the day I immigrated from Zimbabwe. The tears. The hugs. Saying goodbye to people that I’d grown up with. Friends. Boyfriends. Family. Housekeepers. The Cafe owner. The Greengrocer.

Leaving behind the people who knew me.  Heading into the unfamiliar. And never quite coming to terms with it.

The unfamiliar can be a trauma. For me it was not understanding the thick South African accent. Wearing slip slops when everyone else was in stilettos. Turning up at a party in bell-bottoms when stovepipes were high fashion.

Not knowing what a French kiss was.

And feeling decidedly Zimbabwean amongst all the South Africans.

I’ve had more than half my life in South Africa now and I call myself South African.  It’s home. But so is Zimbabwe.

Leaving is hard.

Except for the stupid woman who didn’t like my tears.

I’m glad she left. Hope she gets sick on the boat too.


A preview of the trailer.  It is a fantastic movie!

13 thoughts on “Homesick

  1. Belonging. The word rolls around my mind constantly. I had a huge culture shock when I went to Oxford. I was a working class kid thrown into a society of the mainly priveleged privately educated elite. I may as well have been on Mars. A similar shock hit when I moved to London. Mmm I should stop there and blog about it instead…


  2. Okay I was tempted to giggle at some points because it made me want to watch the movie! And also about the woman who couldn’t relate and just up and left. But then I also got all sentimental at the thought of being in her or your shoes during the homesickness periods. It can be rough

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve also had too many goodbyes, and can sympathise with your arrival as a ‘foreigner’ in SA, as I came from England and also could not understand the accent.
    Best to have the cinema to yourself then! (Actually I once watched a movie in a theatre with 160 seats, and there was only me and one other woman – who fortunately did not sit next to me. I felt like Elvis, who, because of his fame, had to rent the whole theatre just to watch a movie in peace 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

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