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I am so homesick

(31 Posts)
StickThemWithThePointyEnd Tue 04-Oct-11 10:33:53

Technically I don't belong here, I live in the UK but am german.
I am so homesick at the moment, everything smells wrong, tastes wrong, feels wrong.
am curled up on the sofa with my kitten, ds2 is asleep upstairs and I am waiting for builders to turn up so I can't even go out.

I am itching to just get in the car and drive to germany, even if it is just to buy a box of Koelln Schoko Muesli and take in the feel of the country.
I feel jealous of everyone who is closer to where I want to be right now than me, even though I realise they may be feeling just as homesick.
I don't know what to do with myself.. and at the same time I am aware if just how pathetic I sound.
DH doesn't understand because he has always lived in this tiny village. He says we will go to germany next year after the twins are born. next year!


strandednomore Tue 04-Oct-11 12:43:18

Hi Ivy
Sorry I probably won't be much help but didn't want to let your message go unanswered because homesickness is horrible. I have lived overseas a lot so know how you feel. Now I am home, I sometimes miss living overseas but mostly I am happy to be here!
How long have you lived in the UK? It sounds like you might be going through one of the early stages of culture shock which is completely normal and something most people pass through when they move. It doesn't make it go away but it can help to realise it will get better.
In the meantime do you have any German friends around you? Can you meet up with other people in a similar situation? As an expat, it is incredibly hard to intergrate into the local community, especially if you are living in a small village where everyone knows each other.
I hope someone will come along with some better advice but in the meantime hang on in there!

BridgetBust Tue 04-Oct-11 12:44:37

Is your DH saying you can't go to Germany until next year because of finances or because he has no annual leave left? If it's the latter, could you and DS go without him? Or could your family visit you?

ChunkyPickle Tue 04-Oct-11 12:46:16

It's a little thing, but is there online TV or radio from Germany that you could watch?

I've lived abroad a lot, and one thing that made me feel closer to home was being able to watch some English TV (for some reason, hearing the announcements in-between was the bit that really made me happy)

My Japanese friend has regular care-boxes from home so she has familiar products around her (although I think that the washing powder was going a bit far myself!)

ChunkyPickle Tue 04-Oct-11 12:50:09

Amazon has German groceries. If a little bit of home will make it better (I know I crave chocolate digestives and jaffa cakes when away) then you could order some (seems a bit pricey!)

strandednomore Tue 04-Oct-11 12:51:18

chunky pickle I got addicted to watching EastEnders via the INternet when we were abroad 2009/10. They felt like my best friends after a while! I still watch every episode blush

StickThemWithThePointyEnd Tue 04-Oct-11 12:55:04

I have lived in the UK for seven years.
we can't go to germany until next year because DH is working a lot, and I am pregnant with twins, and he would worry if I went with the two boys by myself. (and it is a little expensive, actually getting to the airport would cost as much as the flights..

my parents send me little bars of chocolate or things like packets of pudding every few months, but rarely fresh stuff or muesli, which, in their opinion is too heavy and a waste of money..

I have always had trouble integrating properly, although you wouldn't guess it. everybody knows me, my life and all of my business, but I have very few real friends or a proper place in the community, whatever that means..
pathetic, really.

ChunkyPickle Tue 04-Oct-11 12:56:18

stranded - I found myself watching stuff like Midsommer Murders - it was just so comforting hearing the accents and seeing the countryside

StickThemWithThePointyEnd Tue 04-Oct-11 12:56:43

shock at the price of that muesli, but it is 1.7 kg... <tempted>

TeriHatchetJob Tue 04-Oct-11 12:57:25

oh Ivy - I only lived in Germany for 4 years but I get 'germanysick' for brati stalls, Edekas and Kaufmarkts, Wiener Schnitzels..................I could go on..........must be a hundred times harder when it's your homeland...........

Could you not have a long weekend there to get your fix? Your DH would reap the benefits of you being happier wouldn't he?...........

TeriHatchetJob Tue 04-Oct-11 12:58:41

Have you looked to see if there are any online forums for Germans in your position to chat to?

StickThemWithThePointyEnd Tue 04-Oct-11 13:02:52

I should really hace a look, shouldn't I? I keep thinking it would be easier if we at least lived in a city - more people, more life. the country side in the south west is so far removed from the busy city life I lived before. at least in a city I would he finding it easier to access things like international products, groups or even cinemas.
There is nothing but grass, cows and old people here, or so it seems quite often.

picklepepper Tue 04-Oct-11 13:03:10

Aw Ivy, I really do feel for you. Homesickness is horrible, especially when those close to you don't really understand how you feel. When I lived away in France I would watch programmes like X Factor, so that I could join in conversations with friends on facebook, and feel like I still belonged/ like I was closer to them.

Care boxes are a really good idea - would a few good friends from Germany perhaps take it in turns to send a box each month with some of your favourite foods, and some recent magazines that you like to read etc? I'm sure if you told people at home how you're feeling, some would make the effort to come and see you, since you can't go and see them right now. Maybe people don't want to suggest coming over as you're pregnant and don't want to put you under too much pressure to entertain.

How old are your boys? If they're little, are there any local groups you could join with them - I made some very good friends this way when I moved to a new area and didn't know anyone, plus it breaks up the days a bit and takes your mind off missing home until you can make a visit.

Even if none of what I've said is useful, I just wanted you to know that I know how you feel and am here if you need a chat. Take care Ivy.

mummytime Tue 04-Oct-11 13:05:54

Where do you live? Are there any other Germans near you?
How far along is the pregnancy?
Are you living in the same tiny village your DH has always lived in? If so I feel like giving him a stiff talking to, lots of people from the UK would have bouts of homesickness in a tiny village. Tiny villages can be much harder places to slot into than towns and cities. Is there a German circle or similar close to where you live? Are any local towns twinned with somewhere in Germany? Do any schools teach German? These could all give you links to people who: come from Germany, want to speak German, understand or are interested in German culture.
Can you get a German radio station on the internet?
hug I really hope it feels better soon.

SeoraeMaeul Tue 04-Oct-11 13:07:59

We've just moved to hong kong and I'm so homesick for our last home in Korea (effectively outing myself to anyone who knows me - there aren't many folk who've just done that!)
I miss friends but also the small stuff - the community we lived in, walking to school and bumping into folk for a chat, I miss the food and the Korean saunas! When I moved to Seoul I craved schweppes tonic (and gin!) and I'm beyond happy I can buy Korean Hite beer here. I have tracked down a rumored Korean sauna which I'll be trying in a couple of weeks.
All the usual truths apply - socialize, do stuff for yourself which is hard when expecting twins and have 2 boys already. I agree about tv and radio it's amazing how much even just as background noise it helps. I think it's just something you get use to or find one or two like minded souls who help you through.
Sorry that probably didn't help grin but I do empathize!

5moreminutes Tue 04-Oct-11 13:40:59

You have my sympathy too, in reverse - I live in a small village in Bavaria (although DH hasn't lived in this village before we moved here, he comes from another small Bavarian village about 50km away). I have been here 4 years now, and have 3 kids, aged from just gone 6 down to 5 months.

People think that once you've been in a place a few years you are settled and no longer expect/ sympathise with homesickness, but it comes in bouts I find, and I have been feeling a bit sick and tired of the world outside my window, however beautiful, operating all in German/ Bavarian dialect just recently, sick of myself for still struggling with the language, and sick of some the way things work that are just different, even though I know what they are now...

I haven't been to the UK since May 2010 and we have just booked a trip over for June 2012 - people think because it is relatively "near" I could go back often, but as you say it is not in reality that easy or cheap with more than one small child and when there is significant travel from the airport required at one or both ends, and it is realistically necessary to hire a car at the other end or travel by car and ferry rather than plane... My DH also has no interest in travelling to the UK himself and sees it as a waste of annual leave and money, as he says "it costs more than a real holiday" - which is true, getting back to the UK for a week is about double the price of a week in Italy for the family...

I miss the country, the general familiarity of language and culture, shops and products, just people in the street speaking English, not my "family" in the sense of parents and siblings etc, and my friends all live at the other end of the UK to my family, which also makes going back a minefield...

Sorry there is no solution here, just sympathy and fellow feeling - I have found there are lots of expat groups in the nearest big city but it just isn't practical to get to them with the relative ages of the children, timings and travel, so like you I have lots of local acquaintances and am well known in the village I live in, but don't feel I actually have "friends" which were relatively easy to make in the UK, where I could talk without thinking about what I was going to say in advance or being easily misunderstood...

The kids are very settled here and totally at home, this is fantastic of course but when I feel homesick it makes it worse as secretly I feel trapped by their settledness as I feel it would be utterly selfish of me to consider moving before they leave home!!

So just some fellow feeling going out to you in your English village from my German one!

snice Tue 04-Oct-11 13:46:18

is there anything in Lidl or Aldi that would help you feel a bit better?

StickThemWithThePointyEnd Tue 04-Oct-11 14:01:20

5more, I remember you when I was dipping in and out of the germany thread under a different name a few months ago - think halftruths. my ds2 was born a few days after yours, iirc.
I am only about 8 weeks at the moment, but I suffer horribly in early pregnancy. not having been able to talk to anyone round here about it makes this difficult. nobody would expect me to be pregnant now, considering how young DS2 is. I was on the pil fgs.

my english is very good, and I have no trouble communicating, but I think some cultural differences never leave me, and I find some things hard to get used to, here. I think people find me strange.
and I had some horrible interactions with some of my supposed friends recently- mums from the local toddler group, and I don't want to go back there at the moment.
I just rang my mother just to talk, and she said she can send me some muesli in a few weeks. better than nothing, I guess.

I wonder if I can persuade any of my german friends to do me a care package, but I don't have many close friends left there now..

oh, and yes, we have been living in the same village that DH grew up in, but he keeps himself to himself, so we have no family friends either..

StickThemWithThePointyEnd Tue 04-Oct-11 14:02:27

snice, I was just thinking of popping over to Lidl after picking DS1 up from nursery. worth the 20 minute drive.

AbsDuWolef Tue 04-Oct-11 14:33:17

You have my sympathy - I left my home country (South Africa) more than a decade ago and I still get pangs of homesickness.

Francagoestohollywood Tue 04-Oct-11 14:41:18

Ivy, I posted on your other thread. I lived in the UK for 8 yrs (in Devon!) and it was difficult to integrate. I made value friendships with few people, despite the fact that I've always been a very social person.

I too thought that people found me strange!!!

Francagoestohollywood Tue 04-Oct-11 14:42:04

value? Valuable!

PacificDogwood Tue 04-Oct-11 14:43:21

Ivy, mir geht's manchmal genauso. After 18 years here shock.

I don't have a solution (although also frequent Aldi and Lidl often...), but reading your post I wonder whether your situation is made worse by living in a small town? I rarely make it home as well, although my parents come and visit with suitcases full of goodies, but I live near a larger city and have made many German friends over the years, mainly through a German language toddler group. I have been suspected of having 4 DCs to be 'allowed' to keep attending said group for the Kaffee, Kuchen und Tratsch grin...

There are some cultural differences that bother me more now after all this time than previously, and I expect some of them will just stay with me. I suppose I am trying to simply let a lot of that stuff go <<shrugs>>.

Do you have any help with your kids? Do you get to go anywhere on your own at times? I know I missed that - in fact, still miss it. Could you volunteer anywhere, follow any kind of interest, just to get you out of the house at times?
Skype to stay in touch with family/friends in Germany?

I am looking forward to Lebkuchen in Lidl.
Sei umarmt.

5moreminutes Tue 04-Oct-11 14:44:17

wow Ivy, that's going to give you 3 babies within one year or close to it! Congratulations on the pregnancy but I can see how that is potentially a little overwhelming and adds to the homesickness.

I didn't mean to imply anything about your English, obviously we can tell from your posts it is native speaker standard, language is a factor for me but I guess even when you're fluent you never feel as totally at home speaking a language you didn't grow up with.

I missed proper smile tea when we moved here (I was also preg then, with dc2), asked my mum to send me some PG Tips or Yorkshire tea bags, asked her if she'd sent it a few weeks later when it hadn't arrived, she said she'd put it away with a few bits to send at Christmas (it was July)!!! they don't get how much those small tastes of home mean and how we need them now, not in a few weeks/ months! DH orders me 3kg bags of PG tips on the internet now smile I found friends much more helpful at sending tings but didn't like to ask the same person more than once, esp as it is hard to know what to send in return...

I am not familiar with the muesli you miss but am not a muesli eater, I can have a look for it - which area of Germany are you from? Some foods are quite regional aren't they, but I imagine not muesli... Maybe we could set up a care package "exchange" as we are in each other's countries!

StickThemWithThePointyEnd Tue 04-Oct-11 14:55:53

ha, I know the feeling when they say "we put it away for you to send at christmas". I don't think anyone can quite understand the feeling of desperation when you are waiting for the postman to bring that parcel.

the twins are due about 3 weeks after DS2's first birthday, but obviously are expected to turn up earlier.. DS1 was prem, DS2 born at 42 weeks, so we will see.. I shall never trust the pill again, though. (My mother fell pregnant on the pill 9 times, I have been wondering if it has anything to do with the genetic condition that runs in our family, but that is probably grasping at straws.)

PD, I am sure it has something to do with living in a village, I am so used to having everything accessible, people, services, shops.
I have Tuesdays to myself in the house at the moment because DS2 just sleeps all the time, but obviously I can't go out without him. On wednesday afternoons DS1 is at nursery and DS2 with a CM, so I have 4 hours in which I can do as I please. I also have my cleaner coming on wednesday morning. I love wednesdays.

care package exchange would be lovely - I come from munich. (outing myself here, but hey ho.)

right, off to get DS1 and a trip to waitrose/lidl!

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