Expat Unplugged: Hakuna Matata Homesickness

Andrea , 25 Nov 2010


Prescriptions? No need for those here. When I told my friend I had brought two different antibiotics with me from home, he responded with teasing about overpaying and wasting space in my suitcase. “Pharmacies in India sell a pill for everything” as I have heard from various and sundry locals. I decided to test this theory and requested a suggestion for pills that relieve the symptoms of homesickness. I, as to be expected, received a baffled looked from the man behind the counter. Unable to comprehend my sarcasm, he recommended I Google it. Excellent idea sir!

According to my Google search results, once separated from home, children and adults report that the most effective ways of coping include:

  • Keeping a positive attitude
  • Maintaining contact with home, through letters (both traditional and electronic)
  • Activity
  • Communication
  • Enjoying what’s different about the novel environment
  • Bringing a “transitional object” (something special from home)
Sin City Tee
Sin City Tee
Indian Food
Indian Food

I sing myself “Hakuna Matata” daily in the shower, speak to my mother twice a day, sleep with a pillow from home, and rarely could be found using my flat for anything but sleeping, showering, and cooking. Overall, this list might do the trick for most, but for me I spend my days smiling thanks to my arsenal composed of amazing friends and family.

Some of my favorite objects from my precious arsenal:

  • balloon headAttending events via a balloon head. Yes that right, my friends have made sure I could be present for special moments by drawing my face on a balloon that floats into pictures throughout the night.
  • Sleeping in my “Sin City Loves You” tee. Gifted by my favorite boys, it’s  daily reminder about the love and support from home.
  • Receiving Indian food from home. Prepackaged Dahl that cost more to ship than 10 orders here sounds crazy to most, but caused laughter to the point of tears. My request for Odwalla is yet to be filled.
  • Band-aids will super silly sayings. Slamming your finger in the ancient drawer on your new desk might not be fun, but I guarantee ridiculous bandages will lighten the mood.
  • Unpacking my luggage, reaching into my pockets, or opening a book to find sticky notes full of motivating messages.

While most of you won’t need ideas of how to combat the homesickness, lingering just a few bad moments in a day away, there might be someone you know who does. Hopefully you can find a way to cause a lasting smile and spread the love.

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