Was married to an American and having lived abroad, homesickness was something I had to dealt with a lot.
Technically, I had left home since I moved to Jakarta for High School when I was 15 years old so homesickness is not something that I never feel before. But when you live thousands of miles away – in another continent, homesick feels a lot stronger and here’s how I deal with them:
Communications, communications, communication…
Back then I – or sometimes Mr. X – always made sure I bought enough calling cards to call my parents on every weekend. This was before we got Vonage who gave us the best international call rates!
During the weekdays, chatting online helps too especially the video chat kinds as grandparents can see their grandson.
With how advance our communications technology these days, it is a lot more easier and cheaper to maintain communications back home.
Did that got you frowning? Yeah, so was I! But believe me when you feel homesick some native foods will ease that feelings at least a bit. If you lived in the middle of no where like we did back in Dothan, where there’s no Indonesian restaurant unless we drive 6 hours to Atlanta, then you will just have to do with slaving down in the kitchen yourself!
Cooking isn’t exactly my passion but to fulfill those craving for Indonesian foods, I who had never cook anything more than fried rice before – had made some pretty cool stuffs myself from recipes that I found online. Who knew I could made this:
The power of Community
There will always be communities of people from your country in just about every country unless you live in a really remote area. Yet, if you have access to the internet then it is easy to find these types of community.
My first time in Upstate, NY. Indonesian community there invited me to a gathering to celebrate Eid and that was great opportunity to meet other Indonesians. For some reasons, when you’re far away from your country you will feel this certain bonds with fellow ‘immigrants’. This at least is true for me – not for my Mr. X but that’s another topic!
I joined several Indonesian communities back then and made friends with lots of people. What started from online forums became real life friendships. Talking with these friends over the phone in Indonesian language also helps to ease out the homesickness.
If you live in the same town as some of your communities, do try to make the effort to join them on their events. Independence Days usually is the time where communities group held their biggest event.
Here in Jakarta, we went to American Association Halloween Party last year and it was fun as that was the first Halloween party Lil’ A had.
So, don’t underestimate the power of communities groups.
Following news from your native country also ease out the homesick feelings as you feel up to date with what’s going on there. Even catching up on TV shows from your country is easier these days.
So how do you deal with being homesick?