So you’ve moved to Chengdu, you’ve started a new job, you’ve met great people and you’re having a ball. But all of a sudden things aren’t as rosy as they once were. You realise that you’re thousands of miles away from everything and everyone you know and love. How do you cope?
You might be fine and just pick yourself up and carry on or, like me, you might come back to earth with a bump.
I was loving life here, great job, great food, great city so when my boyfriend announced he would be here for my birthday I was super excited to show him everything. For two weeks we had a blast cramming the past seven months of news into this short space of time. We took a trip to Japan where my boyfriend became my fiancee and I got to introduce him to hot pot. Then it came time for him to leave again and I realised how hard it actually is to leave the ones you love. No make up was worn to airport because believe me it would have not been pretty. We said our emotional goodbyes and ran out the airport into the nearest taxi home. Today I’m sitting in my empty flat feeling entirely empty, wondering how I managed to feel full these past seven months. I had made a home for myself here and now it doesn’t feel like one because he’s not here. Instead of just moping I decided to carry on with my hobbies and seeing people (and moping at the same time).
So here are a few things you can do to help yourself if you’re weepy, teary or just plain suffering.
1. Go outside.
You may not have anything to do or anyone to see but taking a walk outside is great. Turn off your phone and wander into that street you’ve never been down or sit in a park with a book. Hearing the people and watching the Mah Jong players will remind you that you are one of many in this city. And as a bonus you can get some sunshine too.
2. Keep your routine.
There is nothing more tempting than lying in your bed all day crying your heart out but it’s not doing you any good. If you normally get up at 9am for a run or a spot of yoga, do it. Even if that run is more like a walk or the yoga is more like a forward fold and then a shower it doesn’t matter. You’ve made it out your bed and done something to keep your mind fresh.
3. Find your comfort food.
Back home if I wasn’t feeling great I would make a fish finger sandwich or a plate of mince and tatties and the world would feel like a better place. In a completely different place finding something familiar is really worth it to keep you going.
4. Talk to someone.
This might be the most obvious one but it can be the hardest one for a lot of people to do. Admitting that your homesick or really missing someone to the point of tears can sound strange when said out loud. Know that the person you choose to tell will not judge you, they will be going through it to or might have been through it a few years ago so they will know that your reactions are completely normal. Telling someone can be a weight of your mind, body and soul to help you figure out how to get through the day and it’s well worth it.
5. Know you’re not alone.
Feeling homesick is nothing new for expats. Just think of those Brits that left everything to persue a new life down under, or the ones that went into the new lands or India to start a new venture. Think they didn’t miss home and families? They probably did. At least now a days we have world wide shipping to console us. The point is that no matter how a person looks on the outside you never know what they’re feeling on the inside. They could be going through exactly what you are and knowing this makes it a little less scary because it’s normal.
Living in another city is daunting but moving to a different culture can make or break you but you will never know until you do it. At the end of the day your loved ones are just a plane journey away. A plane that is filled with many others in your situation too. I hope that you are all doing okay and that you all find comfort in knowing you are not alone in feeling this way.