Going away is a wonderful adventure but sometimes it can shake us up, to the point where we just want SOMETHING, ANYTHING that’s familiar! I’ve never really thought of myself as being a homesick person either, but a while ago when I was abroad, I was offered the opportunity to go to New York with some friends — but I bowed out because I missed home too much. I kicked myself for that later. It’s often the way — you miss your home, but then about an hour after you walk in the front door, you wish you were elsewhere.
Last night I went to a new exercise class — my first in the new city I live in. It was fantastic, a big airy space, the instructor had a beautiful voice (very important), and the class was full of smiling, healthy-looking people. I really enjoyed myself and will definitely go back for more.
It occurred to me though, as I was walking home, that moving to a new city is a major undertaking. It’s not just the whole finding a place to live, opening accounts with phone/power/internet companies, organising some kind of phone, buying furniture etc. stuff that really gets you — it’s the small comforts which you no longer have. Like a hairdresser who makes you feel glamorous, a yoga class which relaxes and restores you, a place where you can get a decent coffee for a good price. Or a friend who is happy to come over any time, who will take you out for a midnight feast at a great restaurant. Or a nearby park with good trees to climb ad a set of swings which are mostly unoccupied.
These things take time to accumulate, but I think routine is a pretty good way to settle into a city. Go for a run every second morning, go to the movies every Tuesday, eat Thai food on Wednesdays, read the Sunday papers, get a massage every Friday — whatever it takes. You can always break the routine if you get bored of it, but it’s a good starting point.
There was a period where I was living in my own city and I really didn’t want to be there. My best friends lived in a different city, and I spent a lot of time wishing I was there with them — or going there for the weekend. I spent most nights on the telephone talking to these faraway people, considering moving there again, thinking about what my life would possibly be like there. One day I came to the realisation that as long as I was doing this, I was going to be miserable — I wasn’t there, I didn’t really want to move there again and I had to stop this vicarious social life. It was just making me feel sad and lonely. I stopped my obsessive contact .I decided to live in the moment and enjoy myself. It worked incredibly well.
I guess what I am trying to say is that yes, you will miss people and want to speak to them a lot. Just try to keep your hair on. If your contact with them is too close, you’ll feel like you are missing out and the urge to go home will be enormous. Obviously, keep in touch, but you need to live your life too — a new life, yours alone, to make into whatever you want.
Go get ’em kids!
(All images sources available by clicking on the picture themselves)