When I first moved to Japan there were so many new things to do and see I had months and months of distraction, and it was like some kind of illegal super immune system booster. Even the biggest earthquake in Japan’s written history could barely put a dent in my enthusiasm. But a few months back, the “stuff” stopped working as well as it used to, and I started to feel a little under the weather. And soon, though I tried to fight through it, I couldn’t deny that I’d definitely caught the bug. I was officially homesick. So I had a consultation with my inner doctor, and she prescribed these 8 proverbial pills.
1: Embrace the loneliness — Enjoy being alone. Do the stuff you like to do that would make you spontaneously combust out of pure shame if your friends ever found out. Go ahead and blast that Wham! CD. Sit back and admire your (mint condition) Star Trek figurine collection. Fire up that belly dancing for beginners DVD. There are some things that are meant to be done alone, and only alone.
2: DON’T call home – This only makes it worse, trust me. In fact, my homesickness really peaked when I made the rookie mistake of calling home during my family’s Canada Day party. After seeing them all together on Skype, and watching them eat home cooked food and play Cranium, I felt a little tear slip delicately from my eye…and then I spent the rest of the night ruining my pillowcase with watery eyeliner stains. Wait until you feel better to call home, or you’ll regret it.
3: Go out — If you must have human companionship (you pansy), call some of your peeps and go out. Also don’t turn down invitations to go out for no reason. If you spend too much time at home you’ll get “homesores” (TM), which are like the mental equivalent to bedsores. Booze is not mandatory, but it’s encouraged.
4: Watch TV/listen to music from your home country – It’s like a piece of home, and it’ll make you feel more in touch. I like to stream TV shows and listen to internet radio.
5: Find something (or someone) to love in your new country — This will create a connection to your new country, because we all know “home is where the heart is”. Take up a culturally specific hobby, or you could just marry a local.
6: Personalize your new space and new life — Make your new digs your home away from home. Recreate your old room if you really want. Just make it feel, well, homey. And get some routine going in your life. Find a cafe you really like and go every Tuesday. Go to the Gym. Do things you would do if you were home.
7: Have a good cry – get it all out of your system.
8: Celebrate all you’ve learned in your new home — Learning a new language? You’re becoming bilingual and you can now impress people at parties. OK and I suppose it looks good on a resume too. Or maybe you’re learning to cook new exotic food. Or just learning how to be an independent person. Pat yourself on the back for making it as far as you did.
Yup, every time the sickness starts to come on I pop a few of these pills and I feel right as rain again. What does your doctor prescribe for homesickness?