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Feeling homesick all of a sudden

Feeling homesick all of a sudden

Old Aug 18th 2022, 3:08 am
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Default Feeling homesick all of a sudden

Hi everyone,

So i'm experiencing weird feelings I've never really experienced before and wanted to hear from you if it has happened to you.

I moved to France 7 years ago and I must have liked it enough to stay this long...that and Brexit happening made we want to latch on to the EU as much as possible. I just came back from a 2 week holiday in the UK to visit my family and since being back in France, I can't shake off an overarching sadness that follows me around like a rainy cloud. I just want to move back to the UK but having commitments now here, ie a job and a partner who is Italian, it makes it seem very unlikely without letting them both go.

What is the weirdest is that this homesickness feeling has never, to my recollection, hit like this. I thought after 7 years, it would be very unlikely to come back with such a force.
The fact my parents are getting older and I get along better with them as the years go on probably doesn't help, and the fact that I am blessed with nieces and nephews and see them growing up without me is a bit of a kick to the stomach also.

There's not really a solution that I'm looking for here, just wanted to rant a bit and hear about you all, if this has happened to you and what you decided to do about it?
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Old Aug 18th 2022, 4:45 am
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Default Re: Feeling homesick all of a sudden

I had a period of living between France and the UK, and every time I switched, I didn't want to leave where I was. When it was time to go back to the UK I got all tearful about leaving my life that I'd carved out for myself in France and the routines I had going and the things I enjoyed doing, and when it was time to come back to France I didn't want to leave the routines I'd got going there and, in a way, the escape from the responsibilities of day to day life in France. But after just a day or two I was over it and happy again.

If the feeling hadn't gone away and I hadn't been able to settle back in to one country or the other, I guess I'd have done what you're doing - sat down and asked myself a lot of questions. Which only you can answer. My view is there would be no point in staying in a country you don't want to be in any more, living a life that doesn't feel right any more, just to prove something to yourself or other people, or out of obstinacy, or out of lack of courage to change things. I think that sometimes, ironically, that happens when we have actually achieved our dream and discovered that actually it's not enough, we get a kind of "been there, done that, now it's time to move on" feeling. On the other hand, staying because you've made commitments and you feel you'd be letting people down badly if you broke them, is different. Breaking commitments isn't something to be done lightly, however sometimes there comes a point when it's no longer possible to make a go of a relationship, or do a good job at work, because you've changed, your heart isn't in it any more and you know it never will be again. We do change as we get older, our priorities shift and we see things differently, it's normal. But before you tip your life up on end, you need to be sure this is a permanent change of heart and not a seven year itch that just needs a good scratch and it will go away. So all I can suggest is, give it time. Speaking personally, I have found that all the important choices in my life have made themselves. I've mulled things over and mulled things over and worried about this aspect and that aspect and not been able to decide what to do, and eventually one morning I've woken up and there no longer seems to be any choice about it. Everything has fallen into place and I know what I'm going to do, it's the only thing that feels right. Probably sounds weird but that's how it's happened.


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Old Aug 18th 2022, 5:44 am
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Default Re: Feeling homesick all of a sudden

Originally Posted by EuroTrash
I had a period of living between France and the UK, and every time I switched, I didn't want to leave where I was. When it was time to go back to the UK I got all tearful about leaving my life that I'd carved out for myself in France and the routines I had going and the things I enjoyed doing, and when it was time to come back to France I didn't want to leave the routines I'd got going there and, in a way, the escape from the responsibilities of day to day life in France. But after just a day or two I was over it and happy again.

If the feeling hadn't gone away and I hadn't been able to settle back in to one country or the other, I guess I'd have done what you're doing - sat down and asked myself a lot of questions. Which only you can answer. My view is there would be no point in staying in a country you don't want to be in any more, living a life that doesn't feel right any more, just to prove something to yourself or other people, or out of obstinacy, or out of lack of courage to change things. I think that sometimes, ironically, that happens when we have actually achieved our dream and discovered that actually it's not enough, we get a kind of "been there, done that, now it's time to move on" feeling. On the other hand, staying because you've made commitments and you feel you'd be letting people down badly if you broke them, is different. Breaking commitments isn't something to be done lightly, however sometimes there comes a point when it's no longer possible to make a go of a relationship, or do a good job at work, because you've changed, your heart isn't in it any more and you know it never will be again. We do change as we get older, our priorities shift and we see things differently, it's normal. But before you tip your life up on end, you need to be sure this is a permanent change of heart and not a seven year itch that just needs a good scratch and it will go away. So all I can suggest is, give it time. Speaking personally, I have found that all the important choices in my life have made themselves. I've mulled things over and mulled things over and worried about this aspect and that aspect and not been able to decide what to do, and eventually one morning I've woken up and there no longer seems to be any choice about it. Everything has fallen into place and I know what I'm going to do, it's the only thing that feels right. Probably sounds weird but that's how it's happened.
Thank you so much, i think i needed to hear that. That was what I was planning on doing - I am not entirely sure yet of my feelings, just that I'm homesick so I think its better to wait to know exactly what I feel!

Thank you!!
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Old Aug 18th 2022, 6:16 am
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Default Re: Feeling homesick all of a sudden

Originally Posted by bobzare
Hi everyone,

So i'm experiencing weird feelings I've never really experienced before and wanted to hear from you if it has happened to you.

I moved to France 7 years ago and I must have liked it enough to stay this long...that and Brexit happening made we want to latch on to the EU as much as possible. I just came back from a 2 week holiday in the UK to visit my family and since being back in France, I can't shake off an overarching sadness that follows me around like a rainy cloud. I just want to move back to the UK but having commitments now here, ie a job and a partner who is Italian, it makes it seem very unlikely without letting them both go.

What is the weirdest is that this homesickness feeling has never, to my recollection, hit like this. I thought after 7 years, it would be very unlikely to come back with such a force.
The fact my parents are getting older and I get along better with them as the years go on probably doesn't help, and the fact that I am blessed with nieces and nephews and see them growing up without me is a bit of a kick to the stomach also.

There's not really a solution that I'm looking for here, just wanted to rant a bit and hear about you all, if this has happened to you and what you decided to do about it?
Although I can't relate to the homesickness, it does make perfect sense. You go back to a country where you grew up, have friends and family, cultural upbringing, and being able to understand the subtle nuances of language and humour; there's many things you might have unintentionally taken for granted but see them through 'new' eyes, as revisiting your home country is now like a holiday... I felt that tang the first few times I went back. However, I do know people who acted on that impulse, returned to the UK, only to realise the daily grind, the expenses, the traffic, the reintegration, was not what they thought it would be, and they often hark back to their life in France, not knowing if they really made the right choice...

In essence, wherever you go, you take yourself with you, so I would bide your time, try and resolve those feelings before making any serious decisions. It may be that returning to the UK is the right choice for you, but if that is the case, you've also got to get your partner on board... There's every chance that feeling of nostalgia and homesickness will pass.... Personally I'd wait a month then write down a list of pros and cons for each country, it might help you better resolve what it is you're feeling.

In my situation, I really have very little choice, having married someone who is French and have children who are born here and whose first language is French. I also missed the return date for moving back, so I'd have to find a job, earning x amount each year, pay a lot of money and fill in lots of paperwork... Thankfully the rest of the family are not interested in living in the UK, but if I did (which I don't) that choice is pretty much taken away.

Last edited by G-J-B; Aug 18th 2022 at 6:21 am.
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Old Sep 17th 2022, 7:18 pm
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Default Re: Feeling homesick all of a sudden

Originally Posted by bobzare
Hi everyone,

So i'm experiencing weird feelings I've never really experienced before and wanted to hear from you if it has happened to you.

I moved to France 7 years ago and I must have liked it enough to stay this long...that and Brexit happening made we want to latch on to the EU as much as possible. I just came back from a 2 week holiday in the UK to visit my family and since being back in France, I can't shake off an overarching sadness that follows me around like a rainy cloud. I just want to move back to the UK but having commitments now here, ie a job and a partner who is Italian, it makes it seem very unlikely without letting them both go.

What is the weirdest is that this homesickness feeling has never, to my recollection, hit like this. I thought after 7 years, it would be very unlikely to come back with such a force.
The fact my parents are getting older and I get along better with them as the years go on probably doesn't help, and the fact that I am blessed with nieces and nephews and see them growing up without me is a bit of a kick to the stomach also.

There's not really a solution that I'm looking for here, just wanted to rant a bit and hear about you all, if this has happened to you and what you decided to do about it?
New here! I echo your thoughts, having returned to SE England mid-August '22 after 2 years. My 'head' wants to continue here for another 5 years before re-evaluating, however, my 'heart' has felt 'homesick', even though I arrived 2014, though only resident since Brexit etc. I think it is possible to try and blend the 2 countries, and may need replanning, such as more frequent visits. Communication is unifying, so aim to practice day-day French, if not fluent. Widen local expat friendships. Use WhatsApp & other Video-calls regularly back to UK. Gradually and hopefully the pros & cons may rebalance. I think there can be much to mourn, but alternatively the French & European life-style is culturally nourishing to flourish with much opportunity.



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Old Sep 18th 2022, 6:07 am
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Default Re: Feeling homesick all of a sudden

Originally Posted by Hikercoach
. alternatively the French & European life-style is culturally nourishing to flourish with much opportunity.
Sorry, I don't understand that sentence.
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Old Sep 18th 2022, 8:29 am
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Default Re: Feeling homesick all of a sudden

Hi again Bobzare, Sorry if I was not clear, probably because I was trying to be contemplative myself. Meaning that whilst I too much miss being with my family, since I have chosen to stay in France/Europe, I console myself with the many differing aspects of my new lifestyle which I enjoy and the new friends with whom I share much joy. You can't draw parallels exactly, and everyone has their own experience. For me though it is better to choose to be reflective, and focus on current grateful circumstances and develop interests to go forward.
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Old Sep 18th 2022, 7:49 pm
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Default Re: Feeling homesick all of a sudden

Welcome to the forum

Originally Posted by Hikercoach
I think it is possible to try and blend the 2 countries, and may need replanning, such as more frequent visits.
Can only speak personally of course, but I think this wouldn't have worked for me at all in the early days. In fact it's what I do now, I divide my time roughly equally, but I think I can only do that serenely because I feel pretty much equally at home in both. They're like two equally comfortable pairs of slippers, just different colours. I think if I did have a strong bias towards one of the two and I started spending more time there, and continually WhatApping and chatting to friends and family there when I was here, it wouldn't be long before I start questioning why I persisted in leaving there for a country where I was sad, when my thoughts and interests and emotional involvements remained predominantly in the other. Why would I choose to wear a pair of slippers that made my feet hurt, when I had a more comfortable pair?
I also feel it's a mistake to actively cutlivate friendships with expats, because by and large the expats you'll meet will be the ones who seek each other out and stick together and they tend not to be terribly aware of local and national issues. The more you interact with the locals and get involved in the little things that directly affect your life here, whatever they might be - maybe the municipality is reviewing its waste collection services, maybe they're looking for volunteers to help run an annual or one-off event - the more your thoughts and energy will be focused on what's happening here rather than being diverted elsewhere.

But as you say we are all different and we have to discover by trial and error what works for us.

Last edited by EuroTrash; Sep 18th 2022 at 7:52 pm.
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Old Sep 19th 2022, 10:18 pm
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Default Re: Feeling homesick all of a sudden

Originally Posted by EuroTrash
Welcome to the forum


Can only speak personally of course, but I think this wouldn't have worked for me at all in the early days. In fact it's what I do now, I divide my time roughly equally, but I think I can only do that serenely because I feel pretty much equally at home in both. They're like two equally comfortable pairs of slippers, just different colours. I think if I did have a strong bias towards one of the two and I started spending more time there, and continually WhatApping and chatting to friends and family there when I was here, it wouldn't be long before I start questioning why I persisted in leaving there for a country where I was sad, when my thoughts and interests and emotional involvements remained predominantly in the other. Why would I choose to wear a pair of slippers that made my feet hurt, when I had a more comfortable pair?
I also feel it's a mistake to actively cutlivate friendships with expats, because by and large the expats you'll meet will be the ones who seek each other out and stick together and they tend not to be terribly aware of local and national issues. The more you interact with the locals and get involved in the little things that directly affect your life here, whatever they might be - maybe the municipality is reviewing its waste collection services, maybe they're looking for volunteers to help run an annual or one-off event - the more your thoughts and energy will be focused on what's happening here rather than being diverted elsewhere.

But as you say we are all different and we have to discover by trial and error what works for us.
That was a great post, EuroTrash.

I second what you say about it being best not to actively cultivate friendships with expats if you’re serious about integrating in France.

We’ve definitely fallen into this trap. We’re in Strasbourg which, by French standards, is a pretty cosmopolitan town. Because of the European institutions, there is a very large expat community here and when I walk down my street to go to work, I now hear English or German spoken almost as often as I hear French. Socially, there is any number of clubs and groups where English is the lingua franca. And in terms of day-to-day stuff, an increasing number of professionals – whether doctors or the people at the bank or behind the counter in the post office – will speak English to you if you want them to (and even if you don’t want them to).

This is all fine and dandy. We’ve been here 25 years and I have a great circle of friends. I’ve long given up worrying about the fact that they’re not French . They’re people. I like them. Up until now, that’s been enough.

Now, however, there is a problem. Or rather two.

Retirement is looming and with it, the question of do we stay or do we go. One thing about expat communities is that they tend to be rather transitory. Chances are, once we all start to retire, many of my friends will leave Strasbourg.

The second problem is that, while my French is good enough to enable us to function on a day-to-day basis, not only am I not comfortable enough with French to enjoy socialising with French people (I dread it and avoid it as much as possible) but also, it wouldn’t take much for us to get out of our depth. For example, if we were involved in a car crash. Or had a major issue with the Tax Office. Or a run-in with a lawyer (this almost happened a few years ago when the lawyers in the apartment below us assumed a leak was coming from our flat). None of that worries me unduly at this stage but I can see it would become a major source of anxiety if we were to stay on in France and grow old and frail here. We have no kids to come and bail us out.

So be warned. Mix with expats all you like. We’ve had a ball. But just be aware it doesn’t equip you for staying on in France in old age.

And it probably doesn’t help with homesickness either.

Last edited by Helen1964; Sep 19th 2022 at 11:05 pm.
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Old Sep 21st 2022, 4:49 am
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Default Re: Feeling homesick all of a sudden

Originally Posted by Helen1964
That was a great post, EuroTrash.

I second what you say about it being best not to actively cultivate friendships with expats if you’re serious about integrating in France.

We’ve definitely fallen into this trap. We’re in Strasbourg which, by French standards, is a pretty cosmopolitan town. Because of the European institutions, there is a very large expat community here and when I walk down my street to go to work, I now hear English or German spoken almost as often as I hear French. Socially, there is any number of clubs and groups where English is the lingua franca. And in terms of day-to-day stuff, an increasing number of professionals – whether doctors or the people at the bank or behind the counter in the post office – will speak English to you if you want them to (and even if you don’t want them to).

This is all fine and dandy. We’ve been here 25 years and I have a great circle of friends. I’ve long given up worrying about the fact that they’re not French . They’re people. I like them. Up until now, that’s been enough.

Now, however, there is a problem. Or rather two.

Retirement is looming and with it, the question of do we stay or do we go. One thing about expat communities is that they tend to be rather transitory. Chances are, once we all start to retire, many of my friends will leave Strasbourg.

The second problem is that, while my French is good enough to enable us to function on a day-to-day basis, not only am I not comfortable enough with French to enjoy socialising with French people (I dread it and avoid it as much as possible) but also, it wouldn’t take much for us to get out of our depth. For example, if we were involved in a car crash. Or had a major issue with the Tax Office. Or a run-in with a lawyer (this almost happened a few years ago when the lawyers in the apartment below us assumed a leak was coming from our flat). None of that worries me unduly at this stage but I can see it would become a major source of anxiety if we were to stay on in France and grow old and frail here. We have no kids to come and bail us out.

So be warned. Mix with expats all you like. We’ve had a ball. But just be aware it doesn’t equip you for staying on in France in old age.

And it probably doesn’t help with homesickness either.
I can only say that, after 25 years, your French is probably better than you think.
My late husband (English) had full knowledge of French words but did not dare to speak it because he was afraid of his accent. He would only dive into a French conversation with people he felt comfortable with. I normally did the speaking. The knowledge was there just like yours probably is. It's just the confidence to speak French.
If you do want to stay in France, join some associations. There's bound to be one in Strasbourg which will interest you. Just dive in it and you'll be surprized how French language will come quickly to you and you will feel much more confident with it !

Now, here on my own, I don't know any Brit ...
But then, I shouldn't brag because I'm Belgian so French came easier to me. Having said that, my brother here is really struggling
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Old Sep 21st 2022, 5:33 pm
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Thanks Annetje, that’s encouraging!
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Old Sep 21st 2022, 8:44 pm
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Default Re: Feeling homesick all of a sudden

Originally Posted by Helen1964
That was a great post, EuroTrash.

I second what you say about it being best not to actively cultivate friendships with expats if you’re serious about integrating in France.

We’ve definitely fallen into this trap. We’re in Strasbourg which, by French standards, is a pretty cosmopolitan town. Because of the European institutions, there is a very large expat community here and when I walk down my street to go to work, I now hear English or German spoken almost as often as I hear French. Socially, there is any number of clubs and groups where English is the lingua franca. And in terms of day-to-day stuff, an increasing number of professionals – whether doctors or the people at the bank or behind the counter in the post office – will speak English to you if you want them to (and even if you don’t want them to).

This is all fine and dandy. We’ve been here 25 years and I have a great circle of friends. I’ve long given up worrying about the fact that they’re not French . They’re people. I like them. Up until now, that’s been enough.

Now, however, there is a problem. Or rather two.

Retirement is looming and with it, the question of do we stay or do we go. One thing about expat communities is that they tend to be rather transitory. Chances are, once we all start to retire, many of my friends will leave Strasbourg.

The second problem is that, while my French is good enough to enable us to function on a day-to-day basis, not only am I not comfortable enough with French to enjoy socialising with French people (I dread it and avoid it as much as possible) but also, it wouldn’t take much for us to get out of our depth. For example, if we were involved in a car crash. Or had a major issue with the Tax Office. Or a run-in with a lawyer (this almost happened a few years ago when the lawyers in the apartment below us assumed a leak was coming from our flat). None of that worries me unduly at this stage but I can see it would become a major source of anxiety if we were to stay on in France and grow old and frail here. We have no kids to come and bail us out.

So be warned. Mix with expats all you like. We’ve had a ball. But just be aware it doesn’t equip you for staying on in France in old age.

And it probably doesn’t help with homesickness either.
At least you have plenty of experience in France and speak some of the language. I'll be driving through France soon and because it's also a Sunday will probably have to stop at my favourite fast food restaurant again where the machine speaks English. France has improved though, but I must admit in that sense Catalonia/Spain (along the coast) does look a bit easier for us and at least across the border we would have the option of a gestor and English/German is widely spoken. Then again I have the same worries as you and although the internet has made things easier, the feeling of being at home is something one can't ignore.
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Old Sep 21st 2022, 11:50 pm
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Default Re: Feeling homesick all of a sudden

Originally Posted by Helen1964
Retirement is looming and with it, the question of do we stay or do we go.
Yep, retirement is a thing isn't it.
Actually I have to eat all my wise words now because despite having done all the things I recommended, it's starting to hit home that I'm going to have to rethink lots of things. All the time I've been in France my life has very much revolved around work - doing it, thinking about it, keeping up to date with admin and business rules, going to work related talks and conferences and social events, chatting with colleagues, everything has rolled along of its own momentum day after day and week after week etc and I've never had to stop and think, How am I going to spend my time? What's today for? What's life all about? Stepping and taking myself out of the loop, is going to leave a huge empty space to fill. Yes I have nice neighbours, we chat in the street and we do apéros and stuff but we've got nothing really in common apart from living near each other, and their lives are primarily tied up with their families. It's a quiet little town. And as you said Helen there is also the growing old and frail thing. One way and another I'm thinking like you that a place that has suited you perfectly throughout one phase of your life, isn't necessarily going to be the right place for the next phase.

Last edited by Rosemary; Sep 22nd 2022 at 12:33 am. Reason: corrected quote
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Old Sep 22nd 2022, 3:03 am
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Default Re: Feeling homesick all of a sudden

Don’t know if the climate would be to your liking – we get hot summers and (in the past at any rate) cold winters – but Strasbourg’s a very liveable and quite lively little city. Probably the least French of all French cities, I would think. There are people from all over the place and even if English isn’t their first language, it’s widely spoken. I know the language per se wouldn’t be an issue for you but what I mean is, having a large presence of non-French people makes for a different atmosphere and gives the place a certain energy. You can have all my friends. You’re bound to strike a chord with at least a couple of them.

Alternatively, let’s retire to Somerset or somewhere and all get little houses or flats in the same town. You can pop round to my place of an evening for a Negroni.

Seriously, though, if any of you are ever in my neck of the woods, doesn’t hesitate to PM me (although please also warn me via the Forum because most embarrassingly I sometimes come across PM messages months after they were sent). I’ll take you out for a kougelhopf.
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Old Sep 22nd 2022, 3:32 am
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Default Re: Feeling homesick all of a sudden

I like Strasbourg a lot.
Lovely city.
We were in a restaurant and the waitress spoke with the first table in French; the second in German and us in English.
We were also in another restaurant on market day and a couple were speaking in the local dialect - whatever they were saying.
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