Seven months and fifteen days. That is the exact length of my stay here in London so far and the journey is far from being easy. The main thing you would have to survive from is not your daily nourishment but the homesickness that will surround you and trust me, it will surely hit you hard in the face. No matter how tough you think you may be. No matter how good you are at composing yourself. You will feel alone, sad and lonely at one point in your life as soon as you start working abroad. The good thing is there are always solutions to this problem. All you have to do is find what works best for you.
I have been getting Facebook messages and emails asking me about being homesick so I thought it would be better to write a post about it. The famous question is “How did you get over homesickness?” and I have been getting that question not only from fellow Filipinos but also from other nationalities who happened to come across my blog. Unfortunately, my dear readers, the answer to that question is you never do. There will always be something that will make you miss home no matter how adjusted you get and how long you live away from your country. The only thing we can do is to turn the frown into a smile and move forward. Here are some of the things I have been doing to survive the sickness every overseas workers get:
1. Be sad. Be VERY sad.
The first thing to do the moment you feel the sadness is to acknowledge it. Denying that feeling will only make it worse, trust me. I tried to shove the feeling off and put it on the backseat but then it crept up behind me like a monster and weighed me down causing me to break down. When you feel sad, welcome it, feel it, think about it then say “See you later!” to it because it will surely come back. Cry if you have to. Even at work, I have already cried more than once where I had to step away from the ward, lock myself up in the toilet for at least 5 minutes and cry because if I don’t do that, it will affect my work. That is why you have to deal with the sadness and react to it in whatever ways you usually do when you feel down because if you don’t, no matter how hard you try to ignore it, it will just linger in the back of your head and you won’t be able to think straight.
2. Befriend your people.
My wonderful workmates!
The number of Filipinos working in the UK alone is plentiful and the ward I am assigned at have numerous kababayans. Acquaint, interact, immerse then choose those whom you can trust. Unfortunately, you cannot trust everyone. Not even your own fellow men. But once you found the ones who are worthy to be called friends, it will help you keep the homey feeling. It is always nice to have people to talk to that you can relate with because you cannot expect the Brits to get Filipino jokes can you?
3. Do what you love.
The gears I brought with me from back home. Will replace this picture once I have everything set up.
May it be partying, dancing, sports, eating, sleeping, shopping, traveling, going to church etc. Do it but within your limits of course. I love playing video games. I can stay inside my room for a whole week just playing games until the wee hours. That is why I am slowly building my gaming set up here. This is what keeps me sane and whenever I feel sad, I just play a game. It keeps my mind off of things that I wallow about.
There are many other ways to deal with homesickness and these are the three ways I deal with it. Does it help? Yes it does. Does it completely remove the sadness? Of course not but it lessens it. Embracing the sadness and taking care of it like a baby will drive you mad. Being sorrowful is normal when you are away from home and only you can do something about it.