Battling Homesickness

Hey there!

A few months ago, I could not wait to leave home and explore the world on my own, but not long after I actually got to New York, I longed to go back home. It was a strange feeling, because I had never experienced homesickness before. I also had never been so far away from my family and friends, so it was not that strange to feel that way. In earlier post I have mentioned homesickness every once in a while, and it is about time I write an entire post about it.

When I finally arrived in New York City and I was about to live my dream, I could not understand why I felt so sad. It was a different kind of sadness than I had ever experienced. There I was, on my own, in a new city, half-way across the world from everyone and everything I knew, starting the most exciting chapter of my life yet and I felt sad. In the beginning I was angry with myself for feeling this way; why could I not just enjoy this experience and how could it possibly be so difficult to leave my room and explore the city. The answer was simple: I was scared, lonely and I missed my family. I was homesick. It took be a few days to admit to myself that I was homesick and that it was okay. People have always told me I am brave and I know that, but I did not know that meant I was allowed to be afraid every once in a while. Even the bravest person gets scared sometimes.

I realized that I had done a crazy thing by moving to New York City from The Netherlands by myself. I still think it is crazy. This whole experience is absolutely insane, but that is was makes it so special and exciting. I had greatly underestimated what moving would do with me, emotionally. Showing emotions is hard for me, but I had no choice but to face them. There was no way I was getting through it without allowing myself to feel sad and miss my family and friends. Once I had accepted that I was homesick, I was able to deal with it. I got through those first few days before school started by planning what I was going to do the night before. That way I had something to get out of bed for.

It got easier when I started school. I met new people. I had conversations. I got excited again. It got easier, but it still was not easy. The interaction and the routine did make it a little less hard though. It gave me enough energy to contact friends and family back home and to get in touch with people around the city. Doing that gave me more energy and slowly I felt less homesick. I got my own life in New York, away from everything I had ever known.

There are still moments when I miss my parents, my brother, my sister and my two best friends. As I am writing this and think about them, I miss them and I wish I was with them. It is hard, but I know that I will be alright. What I have learned about homesickness is that it changes, at least it did for me. The kind of homesickness I felt during my first week in New York is not the same as what I am feeling right now. In the beginning, I was overwhelmed and I wanted to talk to my parents and see them. Now, I miss their presence and I really want to give them a hug.

I used to call my parents twice a day and now I only call them about every other day. Sometimes I would just cry for the entire phone call and now we have deep conversations on the phone. The first few weeks I did not want to Skype, because I was afraid I was going to feel homesick again. The first time I Skyped with my parents, there were some tears, but it was great to see them again.

Homesickness sucks. I won’t deny that, but you will get through it. Moving out it hard, you will have to depend on yourself, there is nobody to catch you. Sometimes I wonder if I would have moved to New York, if I would have known I was going to feel this homesick. I am glad I did not know. And I am glad I went through it, because it made me stronger and it made me more vulnerable.

Take care!

Merel

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