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Do you feel more or less homesick as time goes on?

(33 Posts)
emkana Mon 15-Sep-08 23:27:06

I was talking to a friend who is living a long way from home (though still in Germany) and she thinks homesickness gets worse, not better, over time.

It is true for me, I always thought I would not feel homesick anymore after 10 years in the UK, but I still feel very very sad at times, esp when I've been to visit Germany.

MmeLindt Mon 15-Sep-08 23:55:02

I don't think I feel the same homesickness as I did the first year. Then it was a sharper pain, missing friends and family. Now it is more a yearning for the old familiar habits and traditions.

I do feel that I have got more expat-y over the years. I went for over 10 years with hardly any contact to English speakers, it has only just been in the past couple of years that I have conciously sought out other expats.

brimfull Mon 15-Sep-08 23:57:30

I have lived away from my family for 28 yrs now

definitely not homesick now

did get homesick even up to 15 yrs ago when my dd was a baby..just missing my family really

now my parents are hear for 2 weeks and driving me up the lips are bleeding from the biting

ghosty Mon 15-Sep-08 23:58:56

I have been away for 6 and a half years. I have been back 3 times. I think the homesickness gets worse every time I go back ... If I didn't go and visit I'd be fine I think.

claudiaschiffer Tue 16-Sep-08 01:06:43

I've been away for 2 1/2 yrs. Generally I think I am missing UK less and less but missing people more and more. Friends' lives are moving on, having babies and I've never seen them etc. It is horrid. Mum and dad are getting older (ok not that much older but still). I find it a constant state of sadness that I am not close (physically) to the people I love.

I agree with ghosty tho, when I do see them the homesickness and sense of loss gets worse. Tis an awful Catch 22.

But today is a bad day (for a number of reasons), I have already been sobbing on the phone to my dad blush. Silly me.

Hethbell Tue 16-Sep-08 03:09:15

Have been away for almost 1 year now. I think you suffer a kind of bereavement and go through the same emotions. I think having close friends who "get you" helps but i haven't found any of them yet. Takes time to establish those kinds of friendships. Miss my sister especially because my mum died just before i left the UK. I wish i had a Tardis (spelling!!)so i could have a hug and sunday lunch then come back.Does it get better, don't know yet but hope so.
CS - give me a call, i'll give you a hug.

alipiggie Tue 16-Sep-08 04:31:10

I've not lived near my parents since 1993 and I'm now in the USA and I've gone through finding out Ex-H had had an affair and a divorce. I miss my Mum and Dad, but homesick nope never have been. But I love travel and now I've truly found my "home" here in Colorado.

ViolentFemme Tue 16-Sep-08 05:12:08

((hugs)) for claudia

We have only been away for three months and don't yet feel the full impact of homesickness. It's still a novelty to us being in Oz which helps temper not seeing family and friends.

That said, we got up and running with Skype at the weekend (with webcam) and it was lovely to see everyone - it feels like they are there in your living room! I felt more sad after those calls than any other.

SuperBunny Tue 16-Sep-08 05:47:57

This is interesting. I was trying to explain what homesickness is to someone recently and they seemed baffled.

For me, it changed over time. Initially it was yearning for people, things and perhaps places. Now, it is more a sense of longing for familiarity - to hear people speak the way I do, people who 'get' me and my British ways, to have a similar sense of humour, the smell of 'home', green fields, the countryside, traditions, history... And still Things but I think that is more to do with what they make me think of than the actual thing itself.

Even a simple task like baking can make me feel homesick - not being able to use decent cocoa, having to use cups instead of weighing the ingredients. Not that there is anything wrong with that. It's just not my way. It's different.

It definitely gets worse when my family visit and when something significant happens in the UK - an election, the Proms.

Sibble Tue 16-Sep-08 06:21:01

Definately better for me after 6 years of living abroad. I miss familiarity as has already been posted more than England. In fact after my trip home this time I felt the England of my childhood has long since gone and that is really what I miss - I don't miss England as it is now. Think that's why ex-pats are often more patriotic and clingling to tradition than those still in their country of birth - they don't move with the country and are still hankering after traditions and things that are long since gone - that's why I love the 'do you remember these sweets' threads - or maybe I'm just an old fart wink

WelliesAndPyjamas Tue 16-Sep-08 06:52:48

Claudiaschiffer "missing people more and more. Friends' lives are moving on, having babies and I've never seen them etc. It is horrid. Mum and dad are getting older (ok not that much older but still). I find it a constant state of sadness that I am not close (physically) to the people I love."
EXACTLY how I feel sad

hana Tue 16-Sep-08 08:05:31

worse for me after 11 years in the UK. I didn't have children at first - now I have 3 and countless nieces/nephews at 'home' that only see my kids once sometimes twice a year. I'm v sad that they don't see my parents more than they do. All good relationships, but I really miss the daily stuff that you just don't get during a 3/4 week visit once a year. Dropping in for a cup of tea. Still not getting all the cultural references here. Or popular culture. I feel like i don't fit in anywhere either - def not at home as haven't lived there for 14 years, and most def not here as I clearly stick out.

Portofino Tue 16-Sep-08 08:37:39

After 2 years I've gradually got more homesick. As others have said - it's a novelty to start places to visit, new home etc. I still like it here, though I'm a bit sad as I thought it would be easier to meet new friends. Everytime I go back to Blighty though, it really brings home how much I miss it. Simple things like the beautiful countryside, Sunday lunch in the local pub, the fact that shops are open on a Sunday, TV...and of course friends and family.

admylin Tue 16-Sep-08 08:47:45

I go through phases of not missing UK too much and at times having really painfull heartbreaking feelings and wanting to go home straight away and I think the homesickness gets worse if I'm not happy or having a hard time - like now. We've just moved house, I don't know anyone and the flat needs some work done and we've ran out of money to do what we want to so we're sitting waiting for pay day! When things like this happen you start to think 'this wouldn't happen at home, it'd be better there' which isn't true really, things can go wrong back home too.

MmeLindt Tue 16-Sep-08 08:55:22

I posted this on the German thread the other day:

We are moving to Switzerland soon and as part of the relocation package, DH's company offers Cross Cultural Training. Basically, it is designed to give a general idea of the country that we are moving to, the mentality of the Swiss, traditions and customs. A large part of it focuses on business, but some of it was about private life too. The trainer showed us a graph of the Adjustment Curve, the theory being that when you move to a new country you go through several periods of adjustment.

Phase 1 - Honeymoon
Euphoria, Energy, Differences seem minor, Host culture is new and exciting

Phase 2 - Initial Culture Shock
Increasing sense of confusion, Disroientation, Loss of energy

Phase 3 - Superficial Adjustment
Learning how to survive, Can funtion within a limited, familiar space

Phase 4 - Depression and Isolation
Losing touch with home culture, Awareness of deep cultural differences, Loss of self-esteem, Loss of support of family and friends, Feeling threatenend, Withdrawl, depression, tension, fatigue, homesickness, Stereotyping and hostility toward host nationals

Phase 5 - Compensation and Reintegration
Developing coping behaviour, Less defensive, more accepting, Developing new infrastructure, More openminded, relaxed

Phase 6 - Autonomy and Integration
Learning to value cultural differences, Newfound self confidence

The curve rises and dips according to your feelings of the moment, eventually settling on a plateau at Phase 6.

Phase 4 is the phase which has the highest rate of expats returning to their own country, of "giving up".

The trainer stressed that it is important to recognise these phases, and that it is normal to feel this way.

ninedragons Tue 16-Sep-08 09:05:30

Definitely more. And having a baby was the last straw - I put my foot down and insisted we move back to where I came from. When you're just a couple, Asia is party-party-long weekend in Bangkok-party some more, but now we're a family I am looking for roots again.

I went overseas 14 years ago to go to university. I didn't go home again for about four years and was shocked when my parents picked me up at the airport. They looked so much older than I had remembered, even in four years.

I was talking the other night to DH about how gutted I'd be if DD decided to bugger off round the world for 14 years. We decided we'll just bribe her and buy her a flat around the corner.

taipo Tue 16-Sep-08 09:05:57

We moved to Germany last year and I am generally happy but feeling a bit low atm. I don't know if I would describe it as homesickness or just general discontent.

My problem is that, since leaving home at 18, I have never lived anywhere more than 5 years and quite a lot of that time has been spent abroad so I'm not really sure where I would class as 'home' anymore. I'm actually hoping we will stay here longer this time so that I can get to see what it is like to really put down roots somewhere. But then there is that niggling feeling that maybe I'll never feel like I really belong anywhere.

admylin Tue 16-Sep-08 09:22:29

One of the things that I worry about is the dc and them having to move so often. I know alot of people say it can be a good thing, makes them adapt better to new situations and more experiences etc but I lived all my childhood in one place, infact that's exactly the same place my parents are still living at now, same address and phone number even! My 2 dc have moved 6 times in their short lives and I wonder if the lack of stability and routine will be a good or bad thing in the long run. Things like that make me homesick.

As you say ninedragons, I hope my 2 don't do what their parents did and leave home to live abroad and never come back!

expatinscotland Tue 16-Sep-08 09:27:43

i left my family home and city 19 years ago.

i left my native country 7 years ago.

as time goes on, i remember less and less of how daily life goes on there and it changes more and more, as a consequence, i get less homesick because i miss only elements of it.

right now, it's baking mixes. sorry, but they suck here and sometimes you just don't want to be arsed making it all from scratch.

it does feel acute when family leave after a visit, or it strikes at odd moments as our children get older.

particularly DD1, the eldest. she sometimes does or says something that is so completely foreign to me that i feel a twinge.

i never went through any 'curve of adjustment' myself - i could never live in my native country again full-time, this i knew from an early age.

sarah293 Tue 16-Sep-08 09:27:48

Message withdrawn

hana Tue 16-Sep-08 10:10:06

expat - I get the baking mixes, they are dire here. Quite twee and make about 4 cupcakes or half a pan.

I get the things that dd1 says or does as well - she's is SO English, I wonder that she is mine.

I know the grass isn't always greener, a dear friend moved back to NZ 2 years ago and having a tough time after 10 years in London. I reckon I'm still on stage 4, have been for a few years if I'm honest. DH doesnt' get it. doesn't understand that I can miss Canada and everything it means but not necessarily want to move back. I think it's quite complicated.

finknottle Tue 16-Sep-08 10:31:09

It's not always the same feeling for me. I thought I'd "plateaued" at 6 the last year or so after we bought a house with a great garden which I'd always wanted. Felt much more "at home" in the village and have a much better social life. Did notice I felt for the first time, after 17 years <faints> pretty much at home here.
Was much more even-handed at appreciating the good and bad in both countries and was content. I also think I'd accepted being "that foreigner", if anyone knows what I mean. I used to be irritated, however mildly, by being defined by my "foreigness" which is an identity thing which can be a factor in expat life.

Visits home do still spark a flare-up, that ache of missing the familiar, not having more time with friends/family, and an unsettling feeling of not belonging, having a foot in both worlds. That always takes a couple of weeks to subside after I go home.

But looking at MmeLindt's list, I think I've regressed back to Phase 4 and can't work out why. All 3 children settled at school, have been enjoying friends & out and about doing things. Maybe I'm just suffering from "end of the summer-itis" and a bit run down and in me & maybe other expats, that triggers homesickness?

Have been kicking self in arse for 2 weeks now with little effect. Any one else care to try? wink

MmeLindt Tue 16-Sep-08 10:35:13

I worry about moving the kids too often. At the moment it is ok but when they are older and in school then it will be more difficult to take them away from their friends.

About 10 years ago I met a German woman who had lived most of her life in Spain. She told me to go home to Scotland as soon as possible. They had just moved back to Germany because they felt that Spain was not safe enough (there had been lots of burglaries where they lived, I think it was Marbella). She said that they did not want to stay in Spain and be robbed but she did nto feel at home in Germany anymore either. She was very sad. I do think about her sometimes as I already know that I would find it difficult to go back to UK.

MmeLindt Tue 16-Sep-08 10:39:23

Oh, I hate that, Finknottle. I always want to kick my FIL when he introduces me to someone new as "our DIL, MmmeLindt, she is from Scotland". Bloody hell, I have been here for 16 years and speak better German than some Germans.

Do you think that you had a second honeymoon phase last year with the new house and garden and now you are settling back into normal life?

admylin Tue 16-Sep-08 10:44:58

Isn't it awful when you get 'good advice' like that and you can't get it out of your mind? Every time I go home and go out and socialize (100% more than I socialize here) everyone always says FGS get yourself back over here girl! Months later I can still hear them all saying it when I'm back in Germany.

Where's Emanka this morning? I thought you'd decided to move back to Germany? Have the plans fallen through?

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