I'm still getting lots of hits and traffic to this particular post even now, so I thought I'd leave an update on this page.
I spent a long time working through homesickness and other issues of careers and geography, some of which are summarized here and here .
But this is pretty much where I am now with the whole homesickness/expat acceptance thing. Good luck to anyone who gets here by googling "homesickness" themselves. I know how tough it can be.
And found this. I´ve been doing it pretty tough recently and homesickness has been a major factor - though if it´s the cause or effect I´m really not sure. I know I feel horrifically trapped here. DrH is happy here - he has his job, his friends, his family, his culture. His attempts to compromise in this relationship, like doing the majority of the travelling between Hamburg and Berlin, though are but a meager sacrifice in terms of what I give up on a daily basis for this relationship to continue. I can´t keep waiting for him to decide he´s ready to leave. I need to go now.
Six years is enough already.
That article was good. It voiced everything I feel in a way which didn´t include me sobbing uncontrollably in the corner of the couch. That always make it difficult for people to understand or sympathise. Especially those who´ve never been away from their own culture for longer than 4 weeks - sorry but you guys haven´t a clue where I´m coming from so don´t even think of giving me advice or telling me how good I´ve got it with a husband like DrH. Ok?
I really liked:
In yet another way homesickness has elements of a virus. It lies dormant for periods of time and then, quite unexpectedly, strikes, causes pain, and then retreats until the next time.
True. My bouts are coming more and more frequently though. I´m afraid I may need surgical intervention. My theory is that there is a homesickness organ which is directly affected by this virus. It probably only develops in expats who have spent a longer period exposed to foreign substances. My indepth analysis of the symptoms suggest that the organ is located in the upper chest cavity as marked in Figure 1. I further propose that this organ creates direct nerve connections to the tear ducts and hiccup mechanism.
Figure 1. Chest cavity. Location of proposed homesickness organ marked by a red arrow.
But it was this passage that fully describes WHERE I am:
The lived time of homesickness is a special mode of time. It is a futureless experience of time. We cannot envisage a future in a place which is so unfamiliar; we have lost the future of home and now are living time differently. It is truly a marking-time of time; just as soldiers mark time and go nowhere as they wait for time to move forward, the lived time of homesickness seems to hover in that momentary pause as each leg is held in the air in anticipation of its return to earth. The sense of not knowing when we are going to move forward can indeed be sickening because the lived present of everyday life has a future which comes to meet us in the present
While this is how I´ve lived for years now it offers really no hope for my future:
Can it be controlled? In one sense, definitely not. All the stories of homesickness tell of its dominance. It descends unexpectedly. It can take one unawares, and when in the grip of homesickness one has to succumb to it. It is not within our power to control its arrival. However, as we all learn to live with the flu virus and do our best to keep it at bay, so we can learn to manage homesickness. For a time we have to give in to homesickness and let it run its course through our bodies. We may go to a quiet place and cry for a while, or we may take out photographs and indulge ourselves in feeling sad. These strategies seem to play a necessary part in cleansing ourselves of the ailment. Then we can move on, move forward. We can keep ourselves busy with work and social events; we can try new activities. We can arrange our lives to avoid the loneliness that is often inviting to the homesickness bug....It is not likely that a cure exists; however, homesickness is a condition that each person must cope with in his or her own way. It seems that it can go into remission. Yet there is no definitive numerical value for when remission can be termed cure.
The worst part of all is that I know that even if I get to Australia, I´ll end up being homesick for here. There are now parts of Australian life that drive me barmy and I´m not sure I can handle it if my dream falls flat. What if going home disappoints me more? I have such high expectations I don´t think any place can live up to them.
I need a way to spend half a year here, half a year there.
I think that´s the only solution.
Where´s my frequent flyer card...............