As exciting and wonderful as living abroad is, it can also be very difficult and lonely at times. New customs, unfamiliar faces, no comfort zone. There is often an adjustment period to cope with when moving somewhere new. And even more often, homesickness can sneak up multiple times, at any point while you’re living away from home.
Over the years I have found a few ways to cope best when I am missing home.
Cry in the shower. Yes, sometimes I just need to accept the fact that I am feeling emotional and it’s not going to go away until I embrace it and let the tears flow. I have found crying in the shower feels especially cleansing. Plus, it gives me permission to cry, but it also puts a deadline on my whimpering. Once I step out of the shower I towel off and dry my tears, and move on with my day, feeling refreshed.
Watch your favorite childhood movie. Many childhood movies evoke fond memories of cuddles with my parents, or fits of laughter with my brother. On days when I am feeling especially gloomy, I love to snuggle up and watch The Little Mermaid. This is also a very good way to avoid adulting.
Cook your favorite family recipe. This is the most delicious option (though sometimes it can be frustrating because some ingredients are harder to find than others in foreign countries). I find cooking to be a great distraction for the blues, especially when I invite neighbors or friends over to share in the yummy results.
Skype. Ok, this is kind of a “duh.” But until they finally make time/space warping a reality, Skype really is the best way to spend time with loved ones who are far away.
Get out. Sometimes I find it easiest to sit at home and wallow in my homesickness with a good shower cry or movie, but I always feel best when I put myself out there and make friends. Attending a church, gym classes, community courses, and volunteering, are some great ways to connect with like-minded people. The internet also offers a plethora of ways to meet people. My favorite way to find local activities and fun people is on the events section of CouchSurfing. In the past I have even made a couple lifelong friends from Craigslist! (That was in the pre-Craigslist Killer era.) No matter how you meet, making friends can make any new city feel a little more like home.
At home with my Mama and brothers