It´s been 1 1/2 months since I left my secure and beloved home and me and my fiancé went on the biggest adventure of our lives. Living and working in South Africa – Johannesburg to be precise – for the upcoming months. Was it easy to go on that plane and leave home? NO – I think it´s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. And thinking about this moment makes me feel as having a lump in my throat. Has it been the right decision? YES – because
“Darling, your comfort zone is a beautiful place but you will never grow there”.
And I love being here, exploring the country/the city, making new friends, speaking english 24/7, doing things I’ve once been afraid of and starting to get more independent as a person. But no matter how cool the things are that we’re exploring and no matter how much time we finally have to spend together just the two of us (which is wonderful) there always comes this silent teary-eyed moment at the end of the day where I simply miss my family, my home, my comfort zone. So what to do in those moments and how to cope with homesickness?
Keep up your (good) habits and create a routine:
Don´t stop working out, don’t stop cooking at home, don’t stop reading books, don’t stop doing whatever you loved doing at home. I love working out and that’s why I’m going to the gym in Joburg. It feels like home because I’m doing something I have been doing at home in Germany as well and that feels good.
Another thing that I’m keeping up is my morning routine. First things first – making breakfast and then sitting at my makeup vanity and doing my makeup while eating porridge. I´ll probably do this and stick to that routine no matter where in the world I am.
Do the things you are afraid of:
Probably the hardest things are the ones that are self-explanatory for you in your own country. Like going to the doctor or going to the hairdresser (yes, small talk sometimes is more difficult than business meetings). But once you’ve done those things the first time it feels kinda good – because you feel more secure knowing what to expect next time. It´s the unknown that scares us.
Oh, holy Face Time and Skype:
I´ve read a lot of articles about homesickness and most of them say “Stop face timing with your people all the time – you can’t settle in your new surroundings if you keep informing yourself about home and what the people do there.” – bulls*** I say. Because going abroad doesn’t mean to not care about home anymore or what your family and friends do at home. I want to tell them what I’m experiencing but at the same time I want to know what’s going on in their lives. And it gives me a good feeling to know what´s going on and that I don’t have to be worried. This makes me more receptive for all the things here in my “new home”.
Think about the time when you get to see your loved ones again:
I think there’s nothing better than joyful anticipation. Mark the day when you’re seeing your loved ones again in your calendar. Be happy about it – cherish the moments you then have with your family and friends. Or maybe plan for them to come visit you – plan a vacation together. This makes it a lot easier and the weeks and months don’t seem that long anymore.
Pretend to be part of it…:
…because in the end, you ARE part of it all. Try to adapt to your surroundings, learn or improve the language, “move” the way the people move here. And by saying to move in a certain way I’m not talking you should dance your way through the streets (I mean you can, if you want to :-D) but I mean you can see by the expression of a person, the way a person looks around that he/she is not from here. So be confident, ask people if you don’t know the way or where to go but don’t be insecure in a way that hinders you to be happy.
Have you ever been away from home for a longer period of time and have you been abroad? How did you cope with homesickness or is homesickness alien to you anyway?