14 September 2011

absence makes the heart grow fonder
me crazy in the coconut

The received wisdom is to keep busy. Occupy your brain fully enough and you'll start to forget about it. I'm not talking about anything physical, just the grinding, boring deadweight of homesickness. It's something that I've mentioned flippantly in the past but have now come to realise is, truly, a sickness. When I woke up this morning I swear I could have even told you what it tasted like. Here I am, living a charmed life in one of THE great cities in the world - certainly not something that has ever been said about my hometown (!) - but I can't shake the gut feeling that I just shouldn't be 7000 miles away from the simple and mildly humdrum existence where I belong.

I've tried everything over the past six weeks. I've cut out booze, coffee and snacking. I'm taking vitamins, staying hydrated and going to the hairdresser more often. I've swum, run and thrashed tennis balls about. I've gone to museums, festivals and parks. I've read, knitted and crafted. I've written letters, posted photos and skyped. I've cleared my mountain of paperwork and addressed my feckless sleeping habits. I've roasted dinners, baked cakes and built fortresses from sofa cushions. I even resorted to severe retail therapy. I haven't stopped keeping busy.

The end result? 4lb lighter with neat hair and an even neater new swimsuit. Nice, but not things that I really value... those things don't really matter so much where I belong.

Why it's kicked in with such vengence after 18 months I have no idea, but it'll improve, I do know that. And I know how lucky I am to live for a time in this magical place while so many other people have REAL problems (though feeling under pressure to be grateful does, I think, make it worse).

It's pouring with rain today, so I'm planning to opt out of this afternoon altogether; Mummy's on strike. I have an old Disney film for The Boss to watch (more than once if that's what it takes), some wool to wind and a new book that everyone's recommending over and above the movie.

Because maybe the only thing I haven't tried is doing nothing.

Linking in with Yarn Along, not least because it's the friendliest and most supportive linky-thing out there ;0)


  1. Sending hugs from the humdrum. It's not a nice feeling. Hope your day got better. xxx

  2. Oh, I completely understand the feeling. It's bloody awful isn't it? Like a good part of you is missing and it leaves a big hole..... I think it's just part of the deal and something that goes along with all the good stuff. Now - definitely throw yourself into that book! You'll escape for hours at a time ;) xx

  3. I think feeling guilty for feeling bad when others have it worse does make it harder, you feel what you feel and don't have to apologise (to yourself) for it! My dad's advice was always that, if keeping busy doesn't work, allow yourself time to wallow... Let yourself feel rubbish for a bit. Quite often it's easier to cheer up afterwards than if you're trying to force yourself to be happier.

    Also, your comment on my post yesterday about being ill really made me laugh a lot, so thank you for brightening up my day :)

  4. Cheers BC (though I suspect your days are far from humdrum!)

    Tai Tai, this book is definitely the escape I needed this afternoon! Totally hooked already (thankfully the movie isn't released here for another month, so I won't be able to rush into it and spoil the effect).

    pinkundine, glad my story yesterday gave you a laugh!!! I must confess, that's only one of the two occasions on which I've done that (how embarassing!).

  5. Sorry you are homesick! I am a homebody and I do not think I could be as brave as you. I think writing about it and pouring out your feelings has to help some, right? Good luck!

  6. oh dear! homesickness is really hard. maybe have a back home night, cook your favorite meal, put a movie or music on that says home, how about one of those travel videos? i'm sorry you feel disconnected, keep giving yourself something to look forward to, that always helps. i know! a magazine subscription from home! please forgive me if i've only made things worse, i wish you peace and happiness where ever you are!

  7. Oh man! I know exactly how you feel. Homesickness sucks. I've been in your situation for over three years now (working in and living just outside of one of the world's greatest cities but madly missing a little nowhere town in Tennessee). I can tell you it definitely gets better. We take trips to TN whenever we can, usually twice a year, and that helps. But finding and visiting all the beautiful and fun places where you're currently living helps too. Once we got a car and were able to finally drive to the mountains of Pennsylvania or New Jersey that really helped because it kind of looked like home. I hope you can find some wonderful spaces in and around your new town that you can find refuge in.

  8. Aw. I got a case of homesickness recently. After living 8 years abroad. Not nice. But it'll get better. I hope an afternoon off will help. I read that book a while ago and loved it!

  9. I hope some nice tlc and relaxing helps your homesickness. I know first hand how difficult it can be. Getting lost in a book and knitting always helps me. ;)

  10. Thanks one and all - you're very sweet. turns out I have taken this morning off as well. Eeek! As soon as I did the school run I picked up this book again and, well... hello midday! Guess the housework and groceries will just have to fall by the wayside today. Without a doubt, a few hours of quiet escape is just what the doctor ordered.

  11. I hope your homesickness is getting better! I am freaked about moving two hours north to a place where I dont know anyone. Sucks to be away from friends and family.

  12. I hope the homesickness improves. I do know what you mean about recognizing that others have bigger problems or fewer resources with which to address them sometimes only serving to make one feel more guilty for feeling badly about our own situation. The enormity of the world's suffering doesn't always relieve the suffering in one's own life, though it may help put it into perspective sometimes. An afternoon of reading sounds like a lovely tonic. Perhaps finding ways of connecting to home via letters, emails, phone calls might help? Or thinking about the things that make home feel like home and trying to bring some of those things into your present life? Glad to have found your blog through the Yarn Along.

  13. Being homesick is to be expected when you are away from the familiar and ordinary things that you are used to. Glad that the quiet time helped a little. I love the colors that you are using for your Different Lines. I am also enjoying reading through your blog and seeing Singapore from your perspective. Plus the food posts are terrific! I read "One Day" last year and really enjoyed it. You will have to let me know what you thought of the ending. I watched the first season of Downton Abbey in a matter of a few days. Can't wait for the second season to come out on DVD. I recently watched Cranford and was blown away by that, too. Such terrific acting!

  14. I hope it passes. It is strange to be so bad at this time but I guess you are facing not being home for your second Autumn/lead up to Christmas when you hadn't been expecting that.
    I'm with Swanski - could never go away from home for any length of time as I would just have homesickness I couldn't deal with. I have learned to accept this now but it does make me rather dull and unadventurous.
    And, you know, when someone comes in to see me as a GP, suffering from depression, I see it time and time again that they berate themselves for feeling depressed when they "have no right to" and there are so many people with "real" problems. I really think it just adds on a whole heap of guilt which makes them feel bad about themselves and makes the situation worse. And, I have experienced that myself. But, the real question is, how do we get rid of such a guilt???? Who knows.
    Hope your wee bit of a break has perked you up.
    I was on a course today and one of the speakers was a registrar from Dundee and he really reminded me of your husband - looked similar, same expressions and same calm, gentle voice (although different accent). It was very strange as I kept wanting to try and work out if they were related. I assume not?

  15. I think that's it PDNFTA, the time of year and the not-having-a-frikkin-clue-what-the-plan-is is taking its toll. But a few days to myself definitely helped. And the one plus point is that while I acknowledge that my homesickness felt quite like mild depression, I know for sure that it wasn't. Because when that black cloud has descended in the dim and distant past, there's no way I would have been capable of all that "doing". It renders you totally inert. Exercise? Motivation? Creativity? No chance. So while I still have a bit of get-up-and-go, I know it'll all be ok! But I don't know the answer to the guilt question either - it does seem to be part of the human condition; maternal guilt, professional guilt, developed world guilt, we're hardwired for it.

    Don't think 'im indoors has any relatives in Dundee! Must've been weird ('specially if he was being all clever and medical!).


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