My homesickness varies. Sometimes I just want to be home, on a comfy couch watching a real television. But most of the time I feel fine. I love living on my own, I love the peace and quiet, and I love being able to do what I want, when I want. Weirdly, I feel happier about living away from home here in Paris than I did in Liverpool. Maybe it’s because I’ve got no choice?! In terms of my relationship, it’s not been too hard. I heard some awful horror stories about couples who’d done the time then one/both had gone on their year abroad and it just didn’t work out. Similarly, it has become apparent to me how important it is to remember your friends at home, and check in with them once in a while for a quick catch up. Texting definitely isn’t the same, and I miss having gossip/bitching/moaning sessions with my best friends!
So, in my head, I have a list of ‘survival tips’ that I try to live by whilst I’m away. Maybe these will help you, and maybe if you’ve already done a long distance ‘thing’ (relationship, friendship… whatever) you can relate!
1) Don’t think about it too much.
Personally, I think if you’re constantly whining ‘I miss you’ down the phone/over skype to each other every night, it’s going to take its toll. Why make something harder than it already is? Of course you miss each other, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’re in separate countries and will be for the foreseeable future. It makes much more sense to keep conversations as positive as possible. Talk about your day like you would when you’re seeing each other in person every couple of days. There will be times when your heart aches and you want to jump on the next flight home but, for the sake of one of the best experiences of your life, briefly acknowledge it and carry on. Maybe this perspective can be attributed to my cold and heartless nature, but it definitely works…
2) Come up with ways to lighten things up a bit.
This one has helped me a lot. Whenever my boyfriend and I are talking about the long-distance thing (on the odd occasion that I say ‘I miss yooouuuuu’), we make little jokes. It used to take him a good hour, sometimes hour and a half to get from Childwall to Bootle (bloody Queens Drive). A flight from Liverpool to Paris literally takes an hour. So, whenever it feels a bit too much, he says to me ‘it’s just a bus ride away!’. Granted, it’s definitely not £2.10, but it makes it seem a little less frightening. Then I revert back to number 1 – we briefly acknowledge it and carry on.
3) Make plans!
This could be a holiday, little trips you want to take… anything. It makes the time go so much faster knowing that people are coming to visit. I literally have my mum, boyfriend and my dad coming to visit over three successive weekends, then I’m going to Amsterdam with the gals for Gee’s 21st, and then I’ll be home for Christmas. I am so excited for the next few weeks but, seriously, when the hell will I get any time to myself?! 😉
4) Support network.
This is SO important. I’ve made brilliant friends here in Paris, and funnily enough we actually go to uni together at home. Whilst we spoke in lectures and seminars, this year abroad has thrown us together and I’m so grateful. The day my mum left, I had friends to cheer me up and it’s like I’ve known them forever *cheese*. After a hard day of fumbling around France with my clumsy French, it’s so nice to have other girls in the same situation to have a rant and a moan with… in English!
This is the first time in my life I’ve done something completely on my own, and I like to view this challenge as an opportunity to work on me! I also hope that this post gives those of you who are suffering from homesickness another perspective. Let’s make the most of it!