Uncommon Cures for Homesickness
I’ve been living in Australia for about four months now. I love my new home. However, the homesickness can get overwhelming at times. Over the past few months I’ve found ways to manage the longing for home in different ways, some pretty obvious, like making regular Skype dates with loved ones, and then there were the other less obvious ones.
Here are a few of those less obvious things I’ve found comfort in when homesickness takes over.
I’ve never been a country fan. In fact, I’d struggle to name five country artists. However, something about the America-ness of the genre makes me feel closer to home. There is a sense of pride there, and though I know it sounds crazy, it sometimes feels like all of America is my family. Of course, we all are different but we share in the American identity and all the good and bad that comes with it. However, we suffer together as a nation, which is something we have in common. So, what does this have to do with country music? I don’t know, maybe it’s the down home patriotic vibe. There’s something about listening to country music that feels so uniquely American I can’t help but turn to it when I miss being among the “family.”
Whenever I turn on the TV in Australia, it’s a reminder that I don’t live in America. The accents are foreign, and the shows are unfamiliar. When I lived in Chicago, I would get home from work and then turn on the TV, as a kind of background music. Typically, the song of choice was 30 Rock. The voice of Tina Fey had a way of de-stressing me after a long day at the office. Thanks to Ken, I was able to get the seasons of 30 Rock downloaded to a USB drive, and I’ve reunited with Tina and Jack, just like I was back home. I don’t know what it is about hearing American accents on the television, but something about it just makes me feel closer to home. I know I’m still in Australia, but for a little while I feel like I’m with my fellow Americans, even if it’s just for 30 minutes.
When I’m working, which I do from home these days, I’ve got into listening to Podcasts. My favorite ones are This American Life and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. The content is all about the American way of life – the good and not so good, but the issues are all ones I’m familiar with. Sometimes, listening to the news in Australia leaves me totally confused. I’m learning as I go, asking questions of my Aussie friends, but it takes time to become familiar with another country’s political workings. When I listen to the commentary of my favorite podcasts, I get to catch up with hot topics back at home.
I have never liked cooking. That said, I started meal prepping on Sunday nights, so I had a healthy dinner ready for the rest of the week. I had MAYBE four different options, and I rotated them week after week. After doing this for some time, the process became a ritual. I would cook and listen to music, the perfect way to relax after a busy weekend. Since moving to Australia, I’ve got Ken doing the same thing. We shop for groceries on Friday or Saturday and then we do our cooking on Sunday. This process is comforting and familiar, and now that I’m not doing it alone, it’s also become fun!
The little things that help bring a sense of home to my daily life are so important to me. It’s these things that help me through the hard days when I miss my family so much just thinking about them can bring me to tears. I love experiencing new things and learning about my new country of residence, but now and then, these comforts of home are what I need.