2.21.2012

Homesickness


I expected to walk into Spain happier than i've ever been. A happiness inside of overjoyed contentment and bliss. Happy like in San Francisco. Happy like when i'm at home with my family. Happy like when I studied abroad in italy. I was never sad or homesick there.

I'm  living the adventure I've dreamed of. I figured I would love every second of it. This is the good life.  I'm having so much fun. The people are amazing here. I've met wonderful friends. I'm learning Spanish. I've seen beautiful things. I go to the market everyday for fresh fruit and bread. I've grown immensily even just in these short two weeks.
This is the experience I dreamed of.

And yet, I've cried almost every single day... i'm crying at the drop of a hat.... I can't skype with my family because last time it ended with me in hysterics. I can barely read texts from my family and friends without choking up. I take walks with tears streaming down my face hoping my sunglasses hide my red eyes (all the while still admiring this amazing city). I spend far too much time applying and reapplying makeup because tears and mascara don't mix well.

All the while feeling so frustrated and so guilty for not being incredibly happy 24/7. So many people would jump at the chance to be in my situation. To have the freedom and means to move to a different country for a few months. To learn a language that will help them in life and in their career.
I want so badly to be 100% happy

At the same time, I absolutely don't want to go home. you couldn't pay me to leave.
 I love it here!

Apparently this is what homesickness feels like.
I don't think i've ever experienced this. ever
And definitely not for more than a day.

bbbuuuutttt...
I have now gone successfully two days without crying!!!
And yesterday I went for a walk by myself and had a cafe con leche while sitting in the sun
and looking at the beautiful fountain in front of me
and for the first time since i've been here,
I was completely happy
It was a 'holy crap I'm in Spain' moment
:)

41 comments:

DJ said...

I know exactly how you feel. And trust me -- I know it's so easy to say this -- it gets better. The best part about your experience is that since you have such a long time to enjoy your adventure, it won't always seem like half of it was spent crying (for instance, when I went to summer camp for 3 weeks and spent the first week crying, I was pissed off I had wasted so much time being sad). Pretty soon you'll forget that you were ever homesick. :)

Morgan said...

Not on the same scale but when I first moved to SC, all of my own, it took a solid 4-5 months to get over my home sickness and to feel at home. Give yourself those moments where you totally breakdown but then equally relish the moments where you're like "holy shit, I'm in Spain!' xo

Ashley said...

boy, can i relate to this post! i do admire you for taking this new, exciting and challenging experience! i hope it gets better for you! yay, for not crying for two days straight.

seven months ago i moved to PA from NC. i've lived in NC all my life and thats always been home for me. the first couple months were extremely difficult...i couldn't talk to my mom without crying. being away from my family and friends has helped me appreciate them so much more and has allowed me to grow as a woman. i hope this experience for you is all you hope for and more in the end. best wishes! :)

Tammy @ Lemons, Avocados & the Bay said...

Your post first made me a little sad, and then really happy for you towards the end.

I think it's true, time does heal all things. You said you've already grown so much, imagine how much you will have grown by the end of this adventure. You will be a whole new woman (who just happens to speak Spanish beautifully hehe). Anyway, I hope things keep getting easier and easier each day, and you start skyping with your family again soon. =)

xoxo

ChinkyGirLMeL said...

Awww hang in there sweetie. Just take it one day at a time in before you know it, you will be back home again. =)

kfarro said...

It'll get better! Even good change is stressful. Moving away is a weird feeling, too, because even if you love the place you're at, it's odd to think that the home you knew is going on without you somewhere else. Any time I have ever moved somewhere else, I get really excited to go, but once I am there, I obsess over "home" a lot at first and feel like I am missing out on a lot. It's natural to feel that way, because we can't be everywhere great in the world that we want to be at once, unfortunately!!! Don't worry...the feeling will pass and you will be glad you've spent the time there :)

Stefanie Grace said...

This post really touched me. I have completely been there! I was feeling so bad for you in the beginning of the post thinking - Don't give up! And then at the end, I was so happy for you! I still am.

I hope that you really have an amazing time in Spain (and maybe even then in Paris?!). Barcelona is such an amazing city - and please keep the blog posts coming! :)

Stefanie x

brittany said...

yay, two days with no tears! you're adjusting!! and so many happy situations still require huge adjustments. i think sometimes going through the emotions of it all and taking time to process is just part of the new experience! but... i'm the same way, so i don't blame you. i want to be happy time all the time :)

Sandra said...

Aww it's totally normal I promise! Nothing can compare to the feeling of being home with your family, but just like you are doing take in your surroundings and bask in the wonderful chance you have.

You are absolutely allowed to cry. Are there American students you can hang out with? Sometimes I found that being able to relate to other American students helps the homesickness a bit.

Best of luck!

xoxo
Sandra

Holly said...

totally normal. give yourself a solid month to feel back to your old self, i promise.

Allie said...

This was me last semester at school (out-of-state woo!) and every time I talked to my mom I would lose it. But this semester, somehow, everything changed. You are doing a really cool and life-changing thing. Just think about that. :)

Christine loves to Travel said...

Big hugs!!! That's totally normal to be homesick!

It will get easier as time goes and you're right, you are lucky to be there so enjoy it while you can :)

thevoyageofv said...

Despite the fact that you're living in Spain and doing something so many people would love to do themselves, doesn't mean you won't miss your home. It's hard not having people who know you very well around, especially if you're used to it. I'm loving living in New York and can't imagine moving back to Sweden! But my closest friends are there, and I miss them all the time. But more and more you get used to the distance. The good news for you is that by the time it really sinks in, you'll be heading back to California :-)

Molly Rasmussen said...

Keep your head up girly! It's so very hard to adjust to culture shock but before you know it you'll be obsessed with the culture and never wanting to leave! (which you are already almost there).

Best wishes as you continue to find yourself in an amazing country! xo

V. said...

Hi!!

Spain is just a fantastic place. I actually studied abroad 2x while in college in Sevilla (I am obsessed) and understand where you are coming from. Going abroad ( i also went out of state for college) is a scary fun life changing experience. Trust ME. It has been since 2005 since I was last year but those were the best. I can't tell you how many times I felt alone and it is hard to make new friends out there even if you are in the american school. I went with IPA and we had a good group. I even traveled throughout Europe solo..well..as in flights solo and met up with people. Barcelona is just a great city but it is HUGE and with catalan im sure it is even harder since no one speaks spanish really. If you do travel i recommend going to Interlocken in Swizerland (stay at balmers), Paris, Germany, Portugal and Italy..and if you get a chance Morocco (I never realized how much we all have in america until i went there - I learned humility there). Oh yes, check out Sevilla. It is my heart and in my biased opinion the best city in spain. It will get easier, but life is 'harder' in spain, things arent as nice and uptodate. These memories will last a lifetime and friendships you make there will as well.

xoxo.
v

Holly said...

I felt this way when I moved a few thousand miles away from home. It lasted for a little bit, but then things slowly started getting better & I know they will for you too! :)

kelly : pinetothepacific said...

When I moved to London, the EXACT same thing happened. It's so much more stressful being out of the country, because the isolation from family/friends seems much more extreme with the time change, difficulties with calling & texting, and just learning your new city. I would say I felt constant nervousness for my first full month living there, just trying to make friends and find my way. And then, of course, I soon fell in love with that city & my new life SO HARD! I cried harder on the plane home a year later than I ever did when I was missing California. Funny how that works. ;) Just know that one day you'll wake up so happy and in love with your life in Spain that this will be a distant memory!

MARI said...

it is a phase you are going through and it is perfectly natural. do not feel bad.. :)

xx from london

mari

@thecatgravity

Katherine Krieg said...

hang in there!!!! it will be so worth it in the end. so glad things are looking up. can't wait to hear more of your adventures!

Ash said...

haha holy crap girl, you ARE in spain!! i can't imagine what homesickness feels like- i've never left my state for an extended vacation... but it seems like you are handling it the exact same way i would... so i guess this is normal? if you and i could consider ourselves normal? hehe

French Lover said...

I know a thing or two about being away from your family, and it takes time to adjust!
And once you live somewhere else, you'll always miss someone, something, someplace. It's tough, and yet these experiences abroad make you so much richer.
That's what life is all about! Spain is going to be wonderful, and tears are a part of the experience :)
Bisous!

Alex said...

It will take time, I'm sure. But it sounds like you're already making huge strides!! Keep your chin up! :)

Kinsey Michaels said...

you're doing great Nicole!!! i am really proud of everything you're doing, as i'm sure your family and friends are too :)

it can be difficult to get through homesickness. you'll always miss everyone, but i think eventually it'll get easier and easier. just think, it's only temporary, and you're going to return to SF with so many unbelievable memories, photos, and experiences, and certainly no regrets!!!

KateK said...

I love this post. I have been wanting to travel overseas, possibly for a long time by myself but I have been terrified of being homesick. Everything you talked about is something I have definitely been thinking about. I love your honesty and hope you enjoy your time in Spain!

Vivian said...

Aw Nicole, this is all completely normal! Give yourself some time to adjust and it will get better. You can be in the most wonderful place in the world and be happy yet still feel homesick. It's something I've tried to tackle on my own blog- a lot of people think my life in Tokyo is so glam and party-filled, but obviously I don't post pictures of myself crying in my room and hating life- because it does happen. And you can't be too hard on yourself, what you're experiencing is absolutely normal. When you start feeling homesick, my best advice is to let it sink in and indulge in whatever will make you feel better, but for a limited time frame- ie, email your friends or eat a food you miss. Then pick yourself up and go do something new- explore your local area, try a new cafe, buy something you can't find back home... Immerse yourself into the culture and studying the language, and relax and have fun... Have a glass (or two!) of wine... Always, always helps. It sounds like you're doing lots better so I know you'll be fine. I can totally relate! Feel free to rant to me anytime you feel like you're losing it;)
xx

Sera said...

it's totally normal to feel homesick! it just means you a wonderful family back home that loves you and cares about you! (a very great thing!) when you feel like homesick, just remember that this is the time to focus on your life in spain, because it will pass by so quickly and before you know it will you be with your family again!

Maria said...

It's so totally normal to feel homesick! I know I would be crying at the drop of a hat as well! It's not like studying abroad because you're not just jumping from an American college to an Italian college. The culture shock has to be a great deal of the same, but at the same point it's got to be something you love!

Norah said...

I can 100% relate to this. My parents just came to visit me in Asia and when they left it was sooo hard. But I'm telling you that it gets easier and there are definitely ups and downs. Two tearless days is a great start :) Enjoy Spain while you can and remember that your friends and family will be there waiting with open arms for your return!

Allie said...

Aweee well at least it sounds like things are getting better with time! I mean moving to an entirely different continent on your own for months is definitely going to cause homesickness! It's just because you have amazing friends and family back home for you to miss. At least now you can also appreciate Spain for all its wonderfulness! :)

Glocal Girl said...

I can completely relate with your post.. this was me the first 1-3 months I moved to Barcelona. I felt CRAZY for not totally appreciating my new home and opportunity.

The feeling will fade but also will still linger. After 2.5 years abroad I still have my moments. This is not our home, as much as we try to make it :)

Hang in there and know that you always have friends in BCN a short flight away if you really need!

Hugs,
Jeanelle

Berni said...

aww I'd be babbling like a baby too! it just means you love your family a lot. i know it's hard but cherish your life at the moment, otherwise you'll look back and regret all the times you've cried. soak up your travelling adventures! looks like you're having an amazing time xo

Kristina said...

Let yourself feel those sad moments and move on. It's the best thing you can do. You are currently making memories of a lifetimes and who says crying can't be part of those memories (for a short amount of time). Keep your chin up and be proud of yourself for putting yourself in such a vulnerable place.

Taylor said...

I was abroad with 6 months and finding streamed tv is so hard! At first, I was all about the experience, no tv, no problem. Then after a few weeks you just want to watch some good shows at the end of a long day!

L said...

It takes time.. when I was 19 I went to Taiwan for 3 months. During that time my high school boyfriend and I broke up, I was a mess... homesick to the point of very depressed, always upset. It was a bit extreme, however, it was one of the worst feelings in the world. To crave people, family, friends, familiarity that you cannot have. However 3 months later I stepped off that plane and I felt like a new person. Right now my homesickness is a very dull feeling but it's still there. When you see people travel or their photos on facebook you often see the fun stuff, the easy parts. You don't see the moments of loneliness or the tough times. In a few months, those moments and the crying might still be there, but you'll feel so much stronger. You'll see. It's not easy though. I'm glad that despite how hard it is (and homesickness in and of itself is a strange feeling) that you still wouldn't want to go home. You just got there... it all takes time and continue with the positive attitude.

Katie Marie said...

I had a very similar experience! I lived in Ghana for a month and a half and the first couple weeks I was there were TORTURE. I probably cried every single time I was alone. Mine might have been worse though, because I DID want to go home. So bad. I couldn't eat and I could hardly sleep (that could have been due to no a/c too...) But stick it out! You are going to have more than two days without crying. I promise. I now want to go back to Ghana. :)

mina said...

I think this is "normal". I was really upset on a lot of days during our travels. I was worried that I no longer owned a home and that I left an amazing job. I felt like a jerk for being unhappy because I was doing something I wanted to do and that I was so very fortunate to be able to do.

You have an amazing family and it must be really hard to be separated from them. Personally, I wish that I didn't waste so much time worrying because I'll never get those moments back. I know it's rough some days, but I know that you'll make the most of your time there. xo

Janel A said...

Nikki, I certainly empathize with you here! I am also living in a foreign country for a few months, and it's been difficult to reconcile the moments of homesickness with the moments of pure amazement at what we are doing for ourselves right now. Lots of luck and courage xx

Carol {Everyday Delights} said...

Aw hang in there! I think I cried the whole plane ride to Rome when I was staying abroad but I am obviously SO happy I did it and I know this moment will pass too. Hugs from Seattle!

Carol {Everyday Delights} said...

Aw hang in there! I think I cried the whole plane ride to Rome when I was staying abroad but I am obviously SO happy I did it and I know this moment will pass too. Hugs from Seattle!

MJ @ Teaching in Heels said...

You are one brave woman!! You're definitely on an adventure and it's only natural to feel homesick. Hope you're able to find more of those happy days :)

Megan said...

hey girl. just read this. Homesickness is all a part of the adventure unfortunately..it will come and go in waves..creep up one when u least expect it..I have moments (after now 2 years of being here) where it feels like someone just punched me in the stomach..i lose my breath..it comes in the most random moments..I feel it..then i carry on...

I dont know how long youll be here though, so this may not be helpful..but i found, and from talking to others, it takes a few months to really adjust to a new place..for it to start to feel like home..but know u have friends on this side of the pond who are here for you!

i would personally love to meet up at some point while youre still here! hang in there girl!

xx