Soon I’ll be hitting the six-month mark of my time in Prague and I don’t think I’ll be returning to my beloved coastal town in Australia anytime soon. For lack of a better word, I love this city. I love the cobblestone streets, how magical the city centre looks at night, the food festivals by the river, how you can find so many major architectural styles in one city, I love watching Prague change with the seasons, I love the Czech’s dry sense of humour, and lately I’ve been loving that cosy feeling of hopping into a warm night tram after wondering around Prague on a cold night.
But sometimes, even a toasty trdelnik and a cup of hot wine fail to warm the icy isolation caused by a hankering longing for my hometown. Sometimes the feeling is a bit too much and I find myself browsing for plane tickets home at 2 am. So what should one do when missing home? I asked 10 of my ex-pat friends what makes them homesick and what they do to treat a nasty case of homesickness.
“I miss the way we dine back home, how food is this big family/social activity where you prepare the food altogether and have dinner and then you sit down and eat like it’s a ritual.”
Aspa’s remedy for homesickness is staying in touch with everyone and everything happening at home. She thinks regular visits help too, but from experience, she suggests visiting less often and staying longer.
“And the last thing even though it’s contradicting the question, sometimes it’s good to just let yourself feel homesick, no resistance, just exist inside the emotion for a while. It gives you a lot of perspectives, helps you appreciate what you have and it’s healthy overall.”
“I miss the seaside, sunsets, walking by the sunset… I miss dressing up stylish, I miss going to a hairdresser regularly, I miss my car, I miss going to a swimming pool every weekend ….wow I didn’t think the list was going to be so high…, I miss having my own kitchen equipment, I miss my friends and my parents too, but after 4 years I got used to it:”.
Ocean’s treatment for homesickness is to drink Turkish coffee and talk to a friend once a week.
“I miss the food, the weather, my friends, family, my dog, good wine and the vast variety of selection at the grocery story”
Nadia’s fix is to go to a local supermarket and buy food that reminds her of home, video calls her closest friends and family at least once a week, make new friends and try to socialise as much as possible.
“Moving abroad is about adapting, knowing that you’ll be far from your comforts and having a positive attitude towards new beginnings”
“OMG, I miss the food. I basically miss food with flavour and I miss having a variety of food choices. In restaurants and the grocery store”
Molly’s solution is to watch something truly American like South Park or Friends, or some American comedian, and make her famous American burgers.
“I don’t know if I can really say I miss Mexico but sometimes I miss little things like the salty breeze, smells, the taste of certain fruits, or places where I shared beautiful memories. But I don’t find myself feeling homesick very often because life is constantly bringing new opportunities. I personally feel that the world can be your home and we can love many places. Maybe longing is okay, but it’s important to live without so much nostalgia so we can continue discovering more”
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For me, weekly calls are a must. Knowing what my friends and family are doing, even if’s the banalest everyday activities makes me feel like I’m still there in some weird way. I also agree with Aspa and I try to embrace the loneliness for a little while. I’ll look at some pictures of some good times with my girlfriends, listen to some Aussie music and eat some wheat bix. I’ll be in a melancholic state for a week and then I’ll be sitting on the tram to work and I’ll get a gorgeous glimpse of the Vltava river and a smile seamlessly appears.
What do you do when you’re feeling homesick?
Author: Caroline Marcela