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Homesick after a few weeks

Homesick after a few weeks

Old Aug 11th 2011, 7:16 pm
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Post Homesick after a few weeks

Hi everyone

New to the forums but was hoping to get some advice. Recently moved to Brussels (been here about 3 weeks) from the "sunny" North West after I was offered a great job with a new company. Moved over with wife and child (with one on the way).

Problem is, we've got here and I (not so much wife and child) have become incredibly homesick. Can't put a finger on exactly what's triggered it, but all of sudden I'm missing my family and friends. I'm not exactly missing the UK per se (given half the country is in the middle of the riots), nor am I specifically missing the TV, but I'm just missing home I guess.

I know we're not far (couple of hours and we're in London), but little things are beginning to annoy me. Shops not open on a Sunday, driving differences, the tedious amounts of red tape.

We did our homework and looked into living here before we came, and took our time in making the decision. Just wondering if anyone has had smiliar experiences and if there are any tips to overcome homesickness. We've both travelled the world, which makes me even more perplexed as to why I'm suddenly craving home. Only planning on staying here for a year as a maximum anyway, but right now, I just feel like going home.

Thanks
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Old Aug 11th 2011, 7:29 pm
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Default Re: Homesick after a few weeks

One little comment :
don't know where you live now , but a there certainly are many shops ( of all kinds ) open in my part of Bru on Sundays - no Harrods nor Harvey Nicks nor Selfridges , but certainly Carrefour/GB/Delhaize/newsagents/boulangeries etc .
If required , I'll send you some directions/addresses , cheers !
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Old Aug 11th 2011, 7:55 pm
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Default Re: Homesick after a few weeks

Thanks Ray. How long have you been over here and how long did it take to settle?
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Old Aug 12th 2011, 4:46 am
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Default Re: Homesick after a few weeks

Don't worry. What you're going through is completely normal, although it normally takes longer than a few weeks to present itself - but then, if you've started to experience it sooner, maybe you'll pass through it sooner, too!

What I've done whenever I've moved is to concentrate on the things (the good things) that I can do in my new place which I couldn't do in the old. I can't really tell you what they are for Brussels, but I'm sure others (Ray?) can come up with ideas. If you don't do this, don't throw yourself into your new life and make the most of it, you'll end up being one of those grumpy discontented expats who props up the bar of the local out-of-a-box Irish pubs getting sloshed with other expat Brits and complaining about how the locals just don't do X and Y as well as we did back home.
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Old Aug 12th 2011, 7:04 am
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Default Re: Homesick after a few weeks

It's the waves and waves of homesickness nausea I can't get over. Ever since day 1. It's worst in the morning, but they just come constantly throughout the day. I'm missing driving on the left hand side, being able to go to a Tesco when we need, seeing the doctors without having to take cash and fill in paperwork, fish n chips, going to the pub with family/friends.

I've not moved to "better myself" or to discover a new culture, but because of a job. But I'm just missing home. I'm not eating properly, and I'm worrying myself silly about how long I can manage to stay out here. Already planning on going back and I've been here 3 weeks. Maybe it's a sign?

Course, then I worry about the fact that I've moved my family over here, and whilst work paid for all that, we're going to have to pay quite a bit to move back. But I'd rather do that sooner rather than later and at least have our support/social network back.
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Old Aug 12th 2011, 7:43 am
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Default Re: Homesick after a few weeks

Originally Posted by ExpatBix View Post
Thanks Ray. How long have you been over here and how long did it take to settle?
I arrived in '99 ; I found it very interesting , multi-cultural , cosmopolitan and also very easy to settle into .
The place has gone downhill ( very much ) in recent years IMHO .
( Ruined by over-taxation , decent businesses leaving and the EU pen-pushers becoming the only game in town , while driving the prices up and up . )
To digress a little from the main theme : I consider myself a reasonably well-travelled person and so I think , that , unless one is very rich and sheltered from vulgar realities of everyday life , many a place has delivered worsening living conditions ; briefly , I can mention England , S. Africa , Emirates , Spain , Portugal , Croatia , Hungary , Greece , any number of others ; the exceptions could be ( parts of ) Canada , Germany , Austria , Slovenia...
Back to Life in Bruxelles : true , the traffic has become sheer hell !
But still I like the quarter I live in and the facilities , most of which I can enjoy without the need to drive and park ;
I'll be sorry and sad to leave it all ( which might have to be soon now ) .
I never missed Tesco nor Asda nor M & S , not even Waitrose ; I eat very well here ( from the supermarkets and also more interesting stuff i.e. eat-in and/or take-away grub : Lebanese , Thai , Vietnamese etc , besides the obvious French/Belgian/Italian ) , the beers are world's best , the wine is cheaper than in the U.K. ; in my earlier years I would not go a week in Bru without a visit to the cinema ( Version Original , with engl. subtitles , the choice is great ) ; I used to love regular car-trips into France , for lunch and shopping , or to Germany and further away . Bru is very convenient for such escapades , also to quickly get to the sea , if you can like those locations , like Knokke , or Le Touquet ( I do like the latter one ) .
We have car-less days , marathons , jazz festivals and much else ;
I hardly ever go downtown anymore , anywhere near Grand Place turns me off .
One other very important thing ( I don't know your age , but as one gets older , this matters more ) : the access to medical services , usually : is among the best in the world - try and see a spine specialist in London , your GP will write a letter , in some months there may be an answer and , if lucky , you get to see the good chap in his fine pin-striped suit in some 8 months , on the only morning he's available , at Epsom or Watford or wherever , where you don't usually go . Here , you phone the professor directly ( no need for a GP to act as a broker ) and you could be seen tomorrow or the day later - the fees are reasonable and the Mutuelle refunds 70-80% , incl. dental ; try that in England ?
My wife still buys Brit-press regularly and is glued to BBC/CNN/CNBC/Bloomberg on telly ( tsk , tsk , tsk , not v. good towards improving one's linguistic skills ! ) I don't much worry about those things , as I speak a few languages and enjoy a joke or 3 in them with the punters at the corner bistro or in the park , with my nice dog .
Belgium is very far from perfect and too expensive by far , but I can think of half-a-dozen worse places , off the cuff ( been there , done that , the T-shirt is torn now ) .
Try spending a few days around Bruges , Gent , Antwerpen , Spa , the Ardennes , Luxembourg , Aachen , Cologne ...all very near and accessible and safe .
If you have a decent job ( lucky you ! ) , maybe in time you can develop interests which will complement your stay here ?

Last edited by Ray51; Aug 12th 2011 at 9:41 am.
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Old Aug 12th 2011, 11:13 am
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Default Re: Homesick after a few weeks

P.S. after Azarel's remarks :
Don't go to the Irish bars in Bruxelles ;
they are identikit , brain-numbing and a rip-off ( although De Valeras , off Place Flagey used to serve a passable fish and chips - haven't been there for a few years , but then : we don't know where you live and work ? ) ; all the best and loveliest bars in Bru have closed down in the last 4-5 years , for various reasons I can't go on into here ( except that the overpaid , untaxed EUrocrats prefer either an "Irish pub" or a 5-star Champagne hotel bar , the cost being : not an issue in any case ) ;
if and when , between attending to your work and your family , you have the time available , then there's all sorts of considerations : like a good cycle ride ( very healthy and stimulating , if you can manage such things ) , a jog or a walk , a language lesson , some another hobby , a good DVD , planning your next trip ( not to England , but to assorted places that you may yet like to discover , from Barcelona to Dubrovnik and in-between ) ...this is a much more open and conducive society to actually doing "things" than England ( believe me , I should know , as I lived there for years too , in "good" parts of the South-East ) .

Last edited by Ray51; Aug 12th 2011 at 11:49 am.
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Old Aug 13th 2011, 8:21 pm
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Default Re: Homesick after a few weeks

Originally Posted by ExpatBix View Post
It's the waves and waves of homesickness nausea I can't get over. Ever since day 1. It's worst in the morning, but they just come constantly throughout the day. I'm missing driving on the left hand side, being able to go to a Tesco when we need, seeing the doctors without having to take cash and fill in paperwork, fish n chips, going to the pub with family/friends.

I've not moved to "better myself" or to discover a new culture, but because of a job. But I'm just missing home. I'm not eating properly, and I'm worrying myself silly about how long I can manage to stay out here. Already planning on going back and I've been here 3 weeks. Maybe it's a sign?

Course, then I worry about the fact that I've moved my family over here, and whilst work paid for all that, we're going to have to pay quite a bit to move back. But I'd rather do that sooner rather than later and at least have our support/social network back.
funny, I can relate to that from when I was driving grey painted war canoes. foreign lands, foreign people, funny ideas, even funnier languages. and living in a confined space with 40 other men.
but....
i managed to get over it, took to the local ways of life, took part in the local activities, perhaps it was different because we always had a date for when going home. You have no idea the problems when for "operational reasons" we left Singapore 2 months early and no one had bought their going home presents.

Today I was reading a magazine article here in Uk and looking at a various variations on pizza
what was wierd was I was thinking about where in Al Campo certain items are located - and thats 1500 miles away in Granada
perhaps its because thats where the oh is living and thats where i want to be ? ?

the mind does funny tricks, so find ways of changing the focus as I appear to have done. set yourself a realistic target date for either a visit home or someone coming out or going up country to visit another city. set yourself targets but make sure they can be met - the disappointment will be enormous. more impartantly, especially if it is a company enforced move that you discuss with HR and get their support otherwise in a few short weeks you will not be fit for any work at all

just hope I dont get out to Granada and worry about which aisle I should be looking at in Tesco
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Old Aug 15th 2011, 9:33 am
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Default Re: Homesick after a few weeks

One other little point , in Good Faith and without getting personal or prejudiced :
( as one who has lived and worked in S.Africa , Emirates , Hong Kong , Massachussets , Canada , Switzerland , Croatia , etc ) really , it is not a good thing to expect all of the things you like in England to be available everywhere , worldwide ; instead , do try and investigate or partake in , what might be the interesting items locally . I had good experiences , well after midnight , with shawarma in Sharjah UAE , and with a terrific meal available and served at after 02.00 in the morning , on the Nuernberg Autobahn in Germany , complete with decent drinks ...and many others like that , Toronto was good , too , as was Dubai .
If you only think and dream of England , then you , clearly , are not the expat material - in which case , perhaps you should cut your losses ( mental , financial and other ) and return "home" ?
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Old Aug 20th 2011, 10:20 am
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Default Re: Homesick after a few weeks

I have been travelling and living/working in different countries for short periods for the last 20 years. Long ago I used to tune into BBC world radio and sometimes if I heard people speaking English in the supermarket I ended up following them just to hear a Brit. I remember sitting on my bed staring out of the window in Germany listening to the church bells, again, thinking 'what am I doing here?' That particular moment is always with me. A lot of things have changed now, but the feelings you get, don't!
The more I travel, the more I love the UK and everything about it, regardless, and the more patriotic I have become. I know it sounds silly. It is homesickness I suppose.
When I return to the UK and meet up with friends, it is then that I see that, people who don't travel or live abroad think differently. I never go back on any decision. It is just so easy to turn back. You need to start meeting other Brits there and suck it up. UK will always be there.
We are building and moving to Hungary, but I still have to keep a UK home, not even rented, to give me peace of mind that I can return when ever I wish. I know what other people say will not change your feelings. Go forward, it will become easier as time goes on.
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Old Aug 21st 2011, 12:55 am
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Default Re: Homesick after a few weeks

You know I do not live abroad full time, I was in Sicily the winter just gone for 16 weeks and to be honest for a few weeks I really started to miss Scotland.

Now, I returned to Edinburgh 1st Feb and from around the 8th I was desperate to return - which I am in under 3 weeks. You can only speculate about a visit back to England just now and because its effectively been taken away from you, it is pretty likely you want it - normal human reaction amongst adults as well as kids!

I think it would make sense for you to pop back for a weekend - find out if you miss your new home, when you return it should be easier to figure out how you feel.

I personally found when I got back that although I had been missing Scotland that I missed Italy more! - but without coming back I would just have built Scotland up and up in my mind and not taken the time to enjoy and absorb the place I was actually in.

Pop back on a cheap flight - that is my suggestion

PS - anyone reading - I am driving from Scotland to Italy soon - passengers welcome
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Old Aug 22nd 2011, 10:44 am
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Default Re: Homesick after a few weeks

Thanks for the responses everyone. I haven't settled here at all - the admin and red tape is much more than I thought. Also, whilst we looked very carefully at the costs (and we spent a long time researching everything), the costs of settling in are quite high - although I'm sure these are one offs.

Guess I've just got a bad case of culture shock. I think if I went back to the UK, I wouldn't come back. It's an important experience for me, as I always wanted to move abroad, but at least this way I can realize that it's not for me and I'm better off back in the UK.
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Old Aug 22nd 2011, 10:51 am
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Default Re: Homesick after a few weeks

Originally Posted by ExpatBix View Post
Thanks for the responses everyone. I haven't settled here at all - the admin and red tape is much more than I thought. Also, whilst we looked very carefully at the costs (and we spent a long time researching everything), the costs of settling in are quite high - although I'm sure these are one offs.

Guess I've just got a bad case of culture shock. I think if I went back to the UK, I wouldn't come back. It's an important experience for me, as I always wanted to move abroad, but at least this way I can realize that it's not for me and I'm better off back in the UK.

if you decide to go back home its with head high because you gave it a go
which is more than most people who talk the talk but never do the walk

foreign isnt for everyone, good luck with whatever your final decision is
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Old Aug 22nd 2011, 10:57 am
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Default Re: Homesick after a few weeks

Hi Dom

Thanks for the reply. Going to give it a few more weeks...if by say mid-September I'm still feeling this way, then it will be time to head home. In one respect, we're not on the other side of the world so a EuroTunnel ticket will be enough. It's going to be expensive to move back, but as you say, we gave it shot.

I think some people (certainly friends of mine), like the idea of moving abroad, thinking it's going to be great and they'll either be on the beach or in sat having a coffee in some cafe on a plaza. Those house/moving abroad programmes don't help. The reality is very much different and it's only when you get over here that you realize how much you miss family and friends. Let's see what happens in the next few weeks!
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Old Aug 22nd 2011, 11:16 am
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Default Re: Homesick after a few weeks

Originally Posted by ExpatBix View Post
Hi Dom

Thanks for the reply. Going to give it a few more weeks...if by say mid-September I'm still feeling this way, then it will be time to head home. In one respect, we're not on the other side of the world so a EuroTunnel ticket will be enough. It's going to be expensive to move back, but as you say, we gave it shot.

I think some people (certainly friends of mine), like the idea of moving abroad, thinking it's going to be great and they'll either be on the beach or in sat having a coffee in some cafe on a plaza. Those house/moving abroad programmes don't help. The reality is very much different and it's only when you get over here that you realize how much you miss family and friends. Let's see what happens in the next few weeks!
have re-read ur original posting, cannot see if it was a company move or just lifestyle.

it was easy for me at 17, I was surrounded by fellow brits all in the same RN as me, all living in the same quarters etc etc.
but you still miss things at home
even had a dream of my father crying at a funeral, got a letter 10 days later to tell me grandfather had died. I was in Singapore so couldnt have hoped to get back.
found it easier in those days than later when the new wife was left at home. But the longest continuous stretch was 12months before getting back home so there was always a target date for the return, but then we didnt know where we would be going to next (usually only 2months notice sometimes alot less).

I have said it elsewhere, try giving urself targets, for visiting local area, for meeting people, etc. Get people to come out to you, show them what you have got, bringing you things you need, rather than you going home. It only takes a short time away for the old streets to seem narrower, dirtier, than you remember them.

also, how is this effecting the family, if you think you are hiding it from them - you are not, they will pick up on it very quickly.

rgds
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