How To Miss Another City

Stay up late one night scrolling through pictures of your time back there, looking at each one for five, ten minutes at a time, trying as hard as you possibly can to remember every last detail. Feel your whole body ache as you think of the way the food smelled in the busy streets, the way the wind blew just enough to kiss the hem of your shirt, the way the people around you seemed to fold in comfortably like a warm blanket. Remember feeling at home, even if you weren’t.

See other people who are getting to take a trip to your beloved city, and leave a comment along the lines of “soo jealous.” Say it in that flippant, internet-y, not-actually-that-jealous way, but be profoundly envious of how lucky they are to be going. Feel briefly that they don’t appreciate getting to go to this wonderful place, that they can’t possibly know all of those tucked-away little restaurants or side streets with the beautiful painted shutters on the windows, and wish that you could make them understand how truly lucky they are. Want not so much to take the trip from them as to go along with them, to stow yourself away in a suitcase in the undercarriage of the plane and take them everywhere you fell in love with during your time there, to make them see the city through your eyes.

Satiate yourself with reading all about your city in your spare time, searching always for new pictures and looking at old haunts on Google Street View, remembering the way the leaves shook on the trees in late September. Realize that, with less and less irony, you are starting to really consider this place Your City. On some level, you feel that you have a connection with it that you can’t fully explain, that exists in the way the soles of your shoes met the pavement on the long walks you took at night, just you and the empty alleyways. Know that it’s ridiculous to consider yourself the owner of an entity as big and as democratic as a city itself, but be nonetheless defensive — as a mother or best friend might be — when you hear anyone speak negatively of it.

Long to be the person you were again when you were there, to walk the streets with the same confidence and eagerness, to stay out drinking wine and having good conversation, eating too much and sleeping in late. Remember the way you used to take in pleasure more viscerally, more methodically, finding it imperative that things taste good and feel good, that everything be a feast for the senses. Feel rushed where you are now, and deeply miss the time when you were so much more open to change, excited and ready to meet anything that wanted to meet you. Know that you were technically the same person when back in your city, but know also (on some deeper level) that you were a better version of it.

Spend a lot of time — too much time — looking at tickets online to go back as soon as possible. Think constantly about all the things you could be doing, the things you are missing out on, the people who are growing and changing and having nights out without you. Feel guilty for how much you think about this other place, as though you are cheating on your current city with a beautiful former one that could never be competed with. Save up your money as much as possible, always thinking of the moment the plane will land and you will be back in the right zip code, where you can take off the tedium and discomfort of your daily life the way one might an itchy wool sweater. Long to walk those same streets again, to smell the morning air right before everyone wakes up, the one that is so crisp you feel you could break off a piece of it. Count down the days until you can really be back there.

Know that, sooner or later, you will have to go back. Imagine the apartment you’ll have, in that perfect city square, with the wood floors and the high ceilings that you imagine will make the rest of your life so much better. Remind yourself that problems exist everywhere, even in your perfect city, but be much more ready to face them in the right geographic location. For now, though, miss your city so much it hurts — romanticize it until you see it almost entirely in warm shades of pink; think of it while lying in bed before you fall sleep; and always, always be ready to go back. TC mark

image – Oisa

Chelsea Fagan

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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  • http://justbecaitlin.wordpress.com caitlinchristiana22

    Reblogged this on justbecaitlin and commented:
    This is EXACTLY how I feel about London.

  • http://www.itmakesmestronger.com/2012/08/how-to-miss-another-city/ Only L<3Ve @ ItMakesMeStronger.com

    […] Thought Catalog » Life Add a comment […]

  • BOOM

    spot the typo.

    • http://twitter.com/nashelista Nashabella Hermosa (@nashelista)

      fee…L?

  • Domino

    out of curiosity, which city is it?

    mine is wellington, new zealand. i don’t think i’ve ever fallen in love with a city so much!

  • Sia

    New York

  • http://foodisyummm.tumblr.com/ Donna

    Shanghai

  • Kaya

    San Francisco.

  • Lawrence

    Edinburgh

    • arbietheastronaut

      I’m going there in a months time and will stay there for 4 months!

    • http://www.facebook.com/stephaniepushaw Stephanie Pushaw

      Seconded

  • Megan

    Chicago

  • Molls

    I feel that way about Vienna. Going back is rough though, and awesome, because things aren’t the same but the place is still your place.

  • Richa

    Singapore. Studied abroad there for a semester last fall and all I want to do is go back.

    • T

      As a Singaporean, its hard to appreciate the city like you do, be glad to hear how you enjoyed it like you do. The grass is always greener, the first home away from home/ time of freedom in foreign lands always sweeter.

    • Amelia

      this is so interesting… i’ve lived in Singapore for 8 years and i like it but i’ve never really felt that way about it!

  • womp

    Melbourne

    • Michelle

      Ahh Melbourne!! BEAUTIFUL city – so much fun toooo. I had a great time.

      I recently studied abroad in Brisbane for one semester and honestly miss it every day. Chelsea you really hit the nail on the head on what it’s like to miss a city. I often find myself falling asleep trying so hard to hold onto how everything feels – how it feels to walk down certain streets, and all the shortcuts and alleyways I knew. It really is the oddest bodily sensation I’ve ever felt. I feel it down to the core how much I miss it, honestly leaving Brisbane has been different than any break up I’ve ever had. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it!

  • Elle

    new orleans

  • arbietheastronaut

    Vienna

  • Brenda

    Madrid.

  • http://twitter.com/copper0928 Alyssa (@copper0928)

    Portland. Thank God I’m moving back next month. :)

  • Eddie gaga

    Madrid brenda mangrew

  • A

    Mine is Prague. I would move back in a heartbeat.

  • kei

    uppsala.
    där mitt hjärta är

  • Ell

    Berlin :(

    • http://jeveuxtout.wordpress.com jeveuxtout

      Berlin!

      • http://gravatar.com/melindawong melindawong

        Berlin is my new home! been here for a year, and I know just as fast how much I’ll miss it like you guys do once I leave it.

  • Neil

    This is new york for me. Poignant piece

  • JLUA

    It used to be Helsinki but now it’s Stockholm (which I will leave in 6 days…:( )

  • http://twitter.com/Z_paws Zawkward (@Z_paws)

    London. <3

  • Kyle K

    Seattle.

  • Mariadp

    Athens :(

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