Homesick, 2017. Photos by Callie Lugosi.
Homesick was conceptualized when my mom told me that oil of oregano brought on an immediate visceral reaction to picking wild oregano in her youth in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. When dried, crushed, and mixed with other ingredients, oregano is the base of zaatar, which is then spread over dough and baked. Rationing a ten year old jar of oregano, my mom mixes her zaatar consisting of 50% Lebanese ingredients and 50% zaatar sourced from a Canadian grocery store. Having grown up eating zaatar and knowing my mother’s love for it, I grasped on to her nostalgic sentiments of finding something that mirrored the true smell and taste of oregano.
Homesick represents the failure of mimicry, yearning to understand my mother’s experiences and memories, longing for a home that I have not yet even visited. In the bathroom—a site of ritual, self-care, contemplation, and self-gaze—I taste the oil of oregano deeply with the new knowledge imparted by my mother and I feel the burn of repetition in my throat.
Homesick was published in Living Hyphen, Issue 1: Entrances and Exits, 2018.