News Article on Homesickness

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22764986

 

Speaking as someone who moved to the UK from the USA, it’s worthwhile to remember that people not only migrate for different reasons, but from where they originate is as wide and diverse as the Earth itself. It’s a pretty obvious statement, in all fairness, I won’t hold it against anyone who wanted to point that out. People do miss things once they can’t access them anymore, it is also for this reason that immigrants have such a daunting task when it comes to assimilating into a new culture; they, simply put, miss their own.

To say that someone should “just get on with it,” isn’t really fair, even if they do not have a choice. It’s like telling a fish that they should “just deal with it” when they are told that they have to climb a tree – if it isn’t something you did, ordinarily, in the country you were from, it (and I’m putting this into caps for added emphasis) IS NOT GOING TO BE EASY FOR YOU TO ACCEPT.

Likewise, living without things you’ve taken for granted is hard. I miss real salsa and corn chips and spicy chilli, I came from a culture that doesn’t typically have french fries with vinegar (or at all, frankly) for breakfast (or ever). And why shouldn’t I? These are things of my childhood that bring with them a sense of nostalgia, who wouldn’t miss their favourite meals or how they were made? Of course, there are substitutions, and that’s great, but for a lot of transplants it “just isn’t the same.”

How many people have gone on long vacations and found themselves wishing for “a good/proper/real ____,” that they know and love and can identify? It’s really homesickness, at the end of the day, not an insult to the local cuisine.

I still go past a slow moving river in the town where I live, breathe deep, and I am instantly reminded of the 10,000+ lakes that I grew up playing in as a child. I look in earnest through catalogues and peruse shops to try to find colours in decor that remind me of “home.” And why shouldn’t I? Again, it’s an intense desire to know/see something familiar. Walking through the grocery store and spotting a logo or brand name that I recognise causes the same effect – I instantly feel comforted that there is something that I am familiar with, even if the brand name isn’t actually the brand I know, the fact that the spelling is the same, or the logo is the same, is enough.

The article noted that how people adapt to moving is an important factor. How we associate things around us as we grow up – how we “anchor” ourselves to our childhood stomping grounds – is important. Some people really will adjust more readily than others.

But why? Some of it could be due to their personalities, some of it may have to do with the support networks they have formed in the new place they are living, being able to stay in contact with friends and family is important as well.

Regardless, no one is ever 100% safe from feelings and symptoms of homesickness when they are a transplant. I feel that I cope well, all things considered, but even I know that there are some moments when I feel sad (not depressed, per se, but moments of fleeting sadness that come at thinking of people and things that I miss), and that’s normal. A fellow quoted in the article talked about how it took him 15 years to come to grips with the fact that he was never going to move back to his homeland (England, despite having moved to Ireland). 15 years! I can’t even imagine when, at this point in time, I’m still okay living away from the United States.

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