Wow. There’s not much else I can say besides that. It’s been almost a year since I last posted. I can honestly say that wasn’t my intention when I stopped posting. However, I can say that last spring was rather busy. I was finishing my Master’s (which is done! Woot!) and preparing to return to the states for my graduation ceremony. I was also trying to start the official job hunt for jobs. Something had to give, right?
That’s where this blog comes in. I had to take a step back from the things that added stress, even if it was miniscule. I hate that I haven’t posted in so long! I’ve missed writing about our travels, which have slowed down, and having an opportunity to share things that we’ve learned as we’ve gone. But, as I said, it was necessary for me to take a step back as there were other things that I struggled with that I think I need to speak out about.
While I know that I am lucky to have the opportunity to live overseas in Germany and explore Europe, it isn’t all sunshine and daisies. As exciting as it is to have this opportunity, it can also be isolating and include a hard adjustment. Before coming to Germany, I spent all of my years living in North Carolina in a fairly small radius of where I grew up. I love North Carolina. It’s fairly warm year round and I lived close to the beach. We were close enough to other things in larger cities that I didn’t think I was missing out on anything. A major plus: my family was close by.
I’ve never considered myself a social butterfly, but I’ve come to realize I might be more of one that I thought. Uprooting myself from my hometown and coming somewhere I don’t know anyone and don’t speak the language was majorly difficult. The anxiety I felt (and still feel) was overwhelming. How was I supposed to adjust to living in a country that was so, well, foreign? I missed my friends, family, and coworkers. That familiarity was sorely lacking.
These anxieties consumed me to a point. I was worried to venture too far out and to step outside my comfort zone. Because of this, I spent a lot of time at home. On the one hand, this wasn’t terrible. I was able to read, write, and watch TV. But, I didn’t meet people. I didn’t make friends. And, because of this, I found myself in a continuous cycle of seeming depression. I have determined that it was more home-sickness than anything, but it was still tough.
I finally had to force myself out. I would go to the library. A restaurant. A coffee shop. I eventually got a job. I met people and made friends. I finally felt like I belonged. I had a life! But, it still wasn’t the same. Visiting home in May of this year also made it doubly difficult as, when I returned to Germany, I found myself yearning for the familiarity of my hometown.
I was stuck at this point for a bit, which wasn’t helped by my returning home again in July for a friends wedding. Do I enjoy my life in Germany? Yes, I have come to enjoy it. Do I miss my life in North Carolina? Most definitely. But, I have to learn to move on and make do with the life I have now. This wasn’t easy.
I forced myself to get out and explore. I forced myself to live my life. I also made sure I allowed myself the opportunity to feel everything that came along with being homesick. By doing this, I allowed myself to fully heal and come full circle.
I still have issues and days where I miss something specific about home (can I please get some Cheerwine, Chick-fil-a, or Bojangles here?). But, I force myself to stop and take a moment to remember what I’m thankful for since I’m here. I’m thankful for technology that allows me to stay close to family and friends. I’m thankful for the friends I’ve met since I’ve been here in Germany. They certainly help to keep my sane. I’m thankful I have the opportunity to travel home periodically to see my family. I am also thankful for my husband because he is my main support here.
What about y’all? Experience with homesickness? How have you overcome those feelings?