Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Countdown Begins... Homesickness Sets In Prematurely

So I'm listening to overly bubbly music at night lately. Why? Because if I listen to the few downloads I've done recently (Runaway by Kanye West, Run from Me by Timber Timbre, etc.) I really begin to spiral into a bad place. Seriously people underestimate how much music can effect your mood. It's insane. Do not give into the sadness by listening to sad music! It is a danger zone! 

The past few days have been really hard as I've been thinking about next week. Really what gets me really sad is when I imagine saying goodbye at the airport. The future I have is very unsure, I don't know what the school and my co-workers and boss will be like. I don't know how I'll find the bus, if I'll get off at the right stop, how I'll communicate with everyone, etc. I'm leaving right before holidays and that makes it extra emotional. I'm also leaving right after our dog died so I've been kind of anxious and sad. My arm is also giving me a lot of grief and I have to figure out what's wrong with it before I go, so I'm nervous and hope that my scans come back normal and hopefully this injury will go away soon. 

So on occasion I look up articles on homesickness. This has been a topic I've been interested in for a long time, actually, because I've noticed there are so many reprieves and various levels of homesickness while away from home. 

1. So the first thing that can loosen that kind of tight feeling that develops in your chest and heart is finding anything that reminds you of something from your home country. This could be a mcdonalds, a cafe with a turkey sandwich, finding peanut butter in the grocery store, finding a bookstore with books in your native language, etc. I always find that helps at first. It's like, "ok, ok, I'm not so far away that these things aren't accessible. I'll be ok."

2. Finding people that speak your language. There would be times in Paris or Vienna when I would hear someone pass by with an American accent and I would do a double take and actually chase after them to talk to them because I'd be so lonely for Americans. That would be an even better relief than a burger.

3. Making friends and making foods from home. Getting together with a group of new friends and doing things like making brownies and watching tv shows from home really starts to make you feel good. If you don't look out the window it's almost like you're back home, so for a while you can laugh freely and feel good.

4. Being back in the United States, but not your home state. This is pretty satisfying because you can finally talk to baristas and people in stores without any language barriers! It feels so good. But it's not home so you don't feel totally whole.

5. Being back in your state or city but not being in your neighborhood. This is like 98% of homesickness is gone. It's like an almost satisfied feeling because you know the restaurants in the area, you see all the places you used to hang out and stuff and it's like, "oh yeah, I got this."

6. The end of homesickness? Is there one? IMHO the closest I can get is lying in between my parents on their bed. Or just being in my childhood home. 

There are problems with this though. What happens when you've traveled for so long that being home feels good, but you miss where you came from? What happens when you've spent your life traveling and you can't really identify a "home" anymore because so many places are home to you? What happens when your parents move from your childhood home or out of state? What happens if you get married and settle in a foreign place? Basically life is really hard. I feel like I will live with some vague feeling of homesickness my whole life and that's the truth. Because I'm always missing some place all the time. Today I miss Paris. And yesterday I missed Norway. And the day before that I missed Austin. And before that, Brooklyn. 

I was reading this article and it really struck a chord with me. Because lots of people associate homesickness with kids moving out of home for college, but I think lots of adults suffer with it. I don't think it makes you weak. I just think I love my family a lot, I know I'll miss them a lot. I also have kind intense anxiety at times and worry someone will get sick or die while I'm away. And I really just don't know if I could handle that. The longer you stay somewhere the harder it is to leave. So this will be a really hard move. Here are some good comments from the article. What's your best remedy for homesickness? 


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