Evelina Ericsson is currently based in Melbourne, where she works within the heritage sector. Born in Stockholm, Sweden, she first moved to Australia as a teenager. She has spent subsequent years moving back and forth between the two countries.
Some people think missing someone is like missing cigarettes. It’s hard the first day, but with every day that passes it gets easier and easier. But instead it’s like missing air. The more time goes by, the harder it is. Seeing them again is like coming up to the surface so that you can last a little longer under water.
During this pandemic, the world has felt both bigger and smaller at the same time. A connection has formed across the world that didn’t exist before. A shared experience. A shared fear. A shared goal. But distances have never felt so great.
Anyone with family overseas will have different things they long for. For me it’s cuddling my nephew. It’s swimming in the cold water. Holding my friend’s child for the first time. Walking through the streets of my hometown. Hugging my brothers. The smell in the air. The summer twilight.
Being homesick during a pandemic is a special kind of homesick. I am grateful. I am worried. I have stopped looking at the daily death tolls in my home country. I write ‘hope you and your family are ok’ a hundred times in five different message apps.
I hear stories of people lost, of lives affected. I read updates from my friends who work in health care. Battling. The loss is unfathomable. But the wins are many too. I write ‘hope you and your family are ok’.
My mum calls me and it’s morning there but I’m making dinner. It’s spring but warm like summer, she says. We talk about the death notices in the paper. It is someone we know this time. Their family is not okay. The connection cuts out.
On the news: ‘Did Sweden get it wrong?’ A new email: ‘Your flight has been cancelled.’
I don’t know if we got it wrong. I don’t know what right looks like in a time like this. I just hope I get to see the surface again soon.
© Evelina Ericsson, 2020