(The Humanitarian Social Network)
Hi everyone I know this might sound silly but I feel really, really homesick. This is not my first time away by any means, so I am used to having a tough day (tough week) every now and then but I feel this more acutely for some reason.
I was wondering how you deal with missing your home life? Missing partners if you are involved with someone, and just missing home in general.
For me, this time it may be I feel homesick because the nature of the assignment is different (more responsibility, working in a more isolated way - that is not part of a larger team like I am used to. Plus I got dengue fever pretty soon after arrival and that felt terrible.
I have pretty good networks here and travel on weekends when I have them free to meet up with people, eat well - as well as I can - exercise (in my room,doing yoga some security issues plus the pollution and traffic makes running impossible) . So I do my best to look after myself.
I feel like I am admitting a huge weakness by saying this but surely I am not alone in this experience. I'd be really interested to hear how other people mange this if you would like to share. By the way, I am older (nearly 40, so not new really to this lifestyle, it just seems to be hitting me more right now
Not a weakness---EVERYONE goes through this and deal with it in different ways. And I think you are right in saying there are different things to miss---homesick encompasses a lot of things. GREAT to see how well you are trying (under the circumstances) to take care of yourself by the way...most people don't (I'm a health coach for humanitarians in addition to my day job...I've seen some appalling practice in self care)---my question for you would be: what aspect are you missing? By kowing that we can figure out how to give you better advice...
And also, if you want to talk about this offline---friend me and we will figure out how we can chat :) xx
hi Zehra thank you so much for your reply, it made my day. Today is a brighter day I might add! I think what I missed the most on that sunday was communcation - access to internet and skype at good speeds for talking is limited, and because I am communicating mostly (or trying to) in my work here in a different language to my pimary one I miss the day to day chatter and sharing of experiences. It would be different if I was fluent in this language but sadly I am not. Also, ithas taken me years to learn how to properly take care of myself, I think burnout is a real risk in this industry.
Today though, I have a decent cup of coffee and a translator and that may sound like a small thing but it is helping a lot.I find in tough times that a solid practice of self care that comes as second nature now (but I had to work at it) gets me through.
thank you again for your reply, it' nice to be reminded I am not alone in missing home/freinds/family
Hey R - feeling homesick is not even the slightest bit silly. Of the aid workers with whom I'm personally close, every single one feels it at one time or another. So no, you're not alone. It's just one of those things that we rarely admit because... well, for whatever reason.
You're right to look after yourself. As I'm sure Zehra would agree, personal physical health is immensely important. In addition I do two main things to cope with homesickness when I'm deployed:
Pick up the phone (or use skype, or whatever). Talk to those people you're missing. Even if it's every day. Max out your employer's call-home policy, and make the rest up from your own pocket (it's worth it). Teach your spouse/parterner, parents, whomever... to use internet technology if you need to. Keep in touch with those you're missing.
Bring a piece of home. What this is depends a lot on the person. Some need to bring certain food with them. Some bring pictures. Some wear tokens. For me it's music - I can eat almost anything, sleep in the most godawful places, go for ever without creature comforts.... as long as I can listen to my music (mostly the music that was popular when I was in high school). A 160 GB iPod "Classic" is my most treasured possession while on deployment :) Figure out what it is that you need from home and take it with you.
Hope this helps somehow. Hang in there!
thanks for your response :) One of the things I like about Aidsource is you can update on posts as time goes on. That sense of homesickness comes and goes but that was a pretty bad day. We all have those I think.
here's what I have done to make things a bit easier.
Staying in touch
skype is my friend ! and when internet conneciton is slow there is always email, text and yes I am prepared to spend my own cash (but my work conditions here are really quite good)
gadgets that make me feel happy and make things easier
Music, I agree. My Ipod is the best investment. I find in different countries I end up listening to different music.. so becomes a type of theme for that country
My kindle. This is the best invention ever. having a bunch of books on a kindle is instant entertainment when there are not so many other options
thankfully I can mostly eat anything,but I do on occasion head to the international supermarket when I can get there for some things, like cereal etc. I had vegemite in a tube shipped to Kenya for myself and other aussies on the team, and I bought it with me here. (just like the seawl post says, I am such a cliche)
oh, and sense of humour too.
thanks for your reply
Sounds like you've got it under control. Other than music, I have a teddy bear that I travel with (yes, a teddy bear), and a photo of my sisters. It's the little things :) Reach out if you need to again....it's a WHOLE community out here...and not just R, but anyone else reading this who needs to reach out (and touch faith)...do it :)