Anybody who lives away from home can relate to having bouts of homesickness every now and then. Especially for Expats like me, there are times I wish it is easier (or cheaper) to travel to my home country as often as I want to. And with Christmas just literally around the corner, it is almost impossible not to feel homesick again.
It doesn’t matter if you are a new Expat or not – feeling homesick is a typical occurrence you may encounter by following this type of lifestyle. And the thing about experiencing homesickness is that there is no way to predict when you will soon get over it. Sometimes, you think that you are so used to these things; you are immune to homesickness and then, BAM! You feel homesick again.
I am not sure if it’s just me being overly sentimental but I don’t know the solution to “getting over” homesickness. In a way, I don’t think I want to totally get over it. I see homesickness as my “bond” with my family and home country – and to get over the feeling is similar to me completely forgetting my roots. Despite saying that, I don’t want to sulk in the corner while waiting for the “homesickness episode” to pass either, especially during Christmas. So if you are a sentimental Expat like me, maybe you can try some of these tips to make your Christmas away from home a little bit less sad.
Call home more often
Since I relocated in 2009, I make it a practice to send an SMS to my Mom. It doesn’t matter whether I’d just ask how her day went or to ask her for something specific. Sending her at least one message is my way of making her feel that I remember her every day. It is my way of making up “for not being there” as I have gotten used to ALWAYS see them.
I don’t usually do phone calls except if greeting them on their birthdays, anniversaries, or if there is some sort of emergency situation we have to discuss. But during the Christmas season, I try to call a couple of times more. Calling them won’t make me easily get over homesickness but I find comfort by hearing their voice.
Go to a friend’s place to spend Christmas
At the time I lived in Melbourne, I made it a habit of flying back home for Christmas especially since I live by myself (I didn’t have housemates). However, there was one Christmas season that I was unable to. It was the time I was engaged and working on our wedding preparations. Because I wanted to meet with our wedding suppliers when I go back home, that “required” me to fly back home in January instead of December – as ALL of them also took their Christmas break.
I was prepared for the worst Christmas and New Year’s Eve dinner that year. Luckily for me, a few friends invited me to spend the evening at their place so I don’t feel somber that evening. I still felt homesick – especially seeing them together with their family. But, it was better than to have dinner at my apartment, ALONE, and more likely with a bottle of wine to finish just by myself on that evening.
Pack your bags and travel
Since starting our own family here in Ireland, we realized that it is harder (and expensive!) traveling to our home country – even on Christmas. And if you have read my first entry here on ExpatPost, you know that spending Christmas here in Dublin is not that ideal (and fun) either. So in case you think the previous two options will do you no good, why not plan to go somewhere else during the Christmas season?
Traveling during the Christmas season will not only allow you to get the chance to take a break from work or to “shrug off” homesickness for a while. Especially if traveling to a place where Christmas is a BIG event (think Christmas markets, shopping sprees, or festive parades) – that trip is a great way to appreciate that country (or city’s) unique way of celebrating this festive season!