Unless you’re one of those lesser-known robot-expats, you battle with home sickness just like the rest of us. Here are the 5 simple steps that will help to ease your homesickness (well, they help me, anyway…)
1 – Cry
The first step to curing your homesickness is to let it ALLLLLLL hang out. Cry.
And don’t just cry, UGLY cry. Homesickness ain’t pretty and your homesickness doesn’t have to be either. Line up the tissues and let ‘er rip. Formally invite yourself to your own pity party and gush until you start to feel better. You will feel better, I promise.
2 – Call home
A lot of the time my homesickness is triggered when I haven’t talked to my family recently enough. Picking up the phone or, better yet, hopping on Skype is a quick and easy way to lighten the emotional load.
Sometimes the time difference would mean waking your Mom and Dad up in the middle of the night and scaring them because middle-of-the-night calls are rarely good news. If it’s too late/early in the States when you’re homesickin’, write them a big ‘ol email instead and suggest a chat time later on.
3 – Eat lunch at Subway and then have coffee at Starbucks
Sometimes I just want to be back in America – even half an hour would do. I feel like I need to be temporarily surrounded by loud-talkers and positive attitudes and then I can get on with my UK plans. On those days I take myself out for lunch at Subway and coffee at Starbucks.
I can attest that both of these places are similar enough that it’s almost like being transported back to the States for my lunch hour. I consider Starbucks a kind of American-Embassy-with-coffee. I always play spot-the-Americans and try to count how many other expats or tourists have come to take refuge.
4 – Hang out with other expats
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t hang out with locals, far from it! But it’s SO INSANELY useful to be able to have a guilt-free bitch session with a fellow expat when homesickness comes a-knockin’. Venting to a local is dangerous – you’ll almost certainly offend them (at least if you’re doing your bitching right). But venting to a fellow expat is luxurious – is verbal vicks vapor rub – its pure relief.
5 – Write about it
Since 2008, I have come back and back and back to this blog as a way to combat my homesickness. Can you guess why I’m writing this post? I’ll give you a hint – I just got back from Subway and Starbucks. I’m beginning to think that I’ll never stop blogging because I’m not sure what I’d do without it.
Blogging about the differences between the US and the UK, and the hi jinx of moving from America to England is the bomb-diggity because it adds perspective. It helps me to see the funny side of the, shall we say, ‘colo(u)rful’ experiences that arise when you move to another country. It also gives me the glorious relief of proving that I’m not alone. Every time one of our lovely commenters commiserates, it soothes my mind.
I am not the only expat. I am not the only homesick American. You’re all here with me and you’re all living it, too. Go us!
If you have any tips about combating home-sickness, please please please let me know. I’m always looking for new ways to beat this sucker…