As my final week in Ireland comes to an end, I am flooded with conflicting feelings of excitement about going home and sadness about my time being over. I have had such an amazing time studying at Trinity and exploring so many new countries; I have loved the sense of independence that living on my own and traveling solo has given me. On the other hand, I miss my family, my friends, the California weather and wearing shorts in December (it’s sooooo cold here). So right now, I am in this weird state of not wanting my time abroad to be over and wanting to hop on the plane and finally go home. But here’s another weird thing: I’m not home sick. I’ve come to realize something very important being away from home for so long—missing home is not the same as being home sick.
I know because about halfway through the semester I got REALLY homesick. This was right around the time that I would have normally gone home for fall break at my school back in the states. Snapchat and Instagram were filled with all of my friends’ pictures of being home with their families and hanging out with their best friends. At this point I realized I had never gone this long without seeing my family or my friends from high school. It was hard, but I figured people go all semester without seeing their parents all of the time. I was just overreacting, right?
And then people in my program had their parents coming to visit. It seemed like every weekend someone else was traveling around Ireland with their parents, or flying to a new country and meeting their parents there. I was so happy that my friends were able to have a mini vacation with their families abroad (it looked so fun!), but it made me miss my family a whole lot.
So there was this period of about a week and a half where I was just totally missing my family and friends back home. Good news? Those feelings passed and I was back on my feet in no time! But in case you start to get the home sick feels, here are some of the things that helped me get through that week.
Video Chat Thank God for Facetime/Skype/Oovoo/whateveryouwanttocallit. Video chatting is the next best thing to being live and in person with someone else. I Facetimed my dad countless times and had monthly Skype dates with my friends back home that always put me in a better mood—even when I was already having a good day!
Treat Yo’ Self Wise words from Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle. This can mean so many different things! For me, treat yo’ self meant picking up a sweet from my favorite bakery and taking a detour on my way home from school to do a little shopping. Maybe you like to get your nails done? Or watch YouTube videos for an hour? Whatever it is, treat yo’ self!
Listen to Your Favorite Music Listening to my favorite band always puts me in a good mood! So pop in your headphones and jam out to your favorite tunes.
Reminisce When I was really missing my friends from home, I went through the old photos on my computer and was reminded of all the great times we have had together. Not only did it give me a laugh or two, it also gave me motivation to make more memories with my friends here in Ireland!
Reach Out It can really help to talk to someone about how you are feeling. Whether that someone is either of your parents, grandparents, friends at home or friends abroad, getting those emotions off your chest will feel great!
Not going to lie, feeling homesick sucks. It hits people at different times (and sometimes not aIl!) and to different degrees. Honestly, I was really surprised when I didn’t feel the least bit homesick when first arriving in Ireland. I think all of the new experiences kept me quite busy for a while. It only hit me once I settled into a routine and had some more free time than usual. But it does pass! Fall break came around, and I was too busy traveling around Italy to even think about anything else other than what flavor of gelato I wanted to eat next.
Living in Dublin has been great and it really has become a new home of mine. I only have three more full days here, which is crazy to think about. I know I am going to miss it so much once I leave. And when I do, a whole other type of “homesickness” is going to hit me (yeah, I know, lots of different homes to feel homesick for now—but that’s a good thing).