Homesickness and how to deal with it
That is a central issue when you leave home, even if it is temporary. I am dealing with a bout of homesickness right at this moment as I am writing these words, and I can tell you it’s not easy, especially considering that I have never been away from my parents for this long. And I love my family, dear Lord, I cannot put into words how much I do. Also I miss my friends, so much it quite surprises me I have yet to experience a complete mental break-down because of it.
With the technology nowadays, of course there are numerous possibilities to stay in contact, as you can have phone conversations, chats and video chats over the internet without paying a cent. Long gone are the days when a minute phoning another continent cost you 10 bucks and left you feeling hollow and poor. And it certainly helps a lot to be able to have a phone conversation with my mom every morning (or, for her, noon). Yeah, I know. I’m one of those people who actually has to call her mom every day. I am not ashamed. I miss her so much, and her reassurance and support are what made me being here possible in the first place.
But occasionally, when you’re already feeling miserable about being away, a conversation with friends and/or family can make it worse. Of course it does. You keep being reminded of the exact thing that makes you feel miserable: missing home. In those situations, the only thing that I have found to be of help is distraction. That is the key word: distraction, distraction, distraction. When you stay abroad to study, or to work, or to do an internship (like I am), it is inevitable that you meet new people, and that you have a lot of new places to see and experiences to make and work to do, and those things are golden because they provide you with the most important homesickness remedy, distraction. I think the only reason I did not have a complete meltdown in the first week of my stay here is that I started my internship right away. I literally arrived on Monday night and started working on Wednesday morning. Some might say that was too short notice, but I think it was key in me being okay with the sudden change, because the impressions kept rushing onto me so quickly I barely had the time to process it all, and in the haste and stress I completely forgot that I was supposed to miss home.
Now, with about half my time here up, I miss home a lot more, strangely enough. However, I have also found people I like, even care about, and spending time with them is a wonderful, distracting thing.
Also, I have had to reconsider the image I had of myself. I have to admit, I only applied for that internship position because I was convinced, CONVINCED, I was not going to make it. I did not expect the acceptance email until it came, and even then it took me about a day to figure out that, yes, this is real, and yeah, I think I might consider actually doing it. And then there was the whole visa process, and I remember throughout it thinking, oh, I will never get that visa, so no worries. And then I DID get that visa, and I found a place to stay, and I got a scholarship to pay for at least part of it, and STILL I was not convinced this was actually happening until I was saying good-bye to my parents and two of my closest friends at the air port.
So, what happened? Why the hell did I not think me applying for an internship abroad might have actual consequences? And why was I so convinced I was never going to be accepted? Was it because I never thought I would be capable of doing this? Most likely, that’s what it was. I had never thought I would be able to face a challenge like this. And when I did do it, I expected myself to be way more of a wuss about it, when the truth is I have been doing rather well. So what does it all mean? Did I grow up somewhere in the last 3 years without me noticing it? Maybe so. Who knows.
Stay tuned for Part 3 on Friday…
Read Part One here: Miriam’s Stay Abroad in Boston – Storytime – Part One
You can find Miri here: