Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Beating Homesickness {even Christmas week}

Perhaps you're in my situation, you're thousands of miles away from the place you call home this week of Christmas. If you're feeling a bit blue, even amidst the music, lights, food and laughter around you, hear you these tips. These things are helping me stay in the Christmas spirit this year; I hope they help you too. :-)

Handwritten Letters
One of my favorite ways to feel close to the ones I love is to write them. Not only does writing help ease the homesickness, it'll also bring joy to someone else. Even Christmas cards do the trick. It's equally as great when you get them in return. When I see a letter waiting for me with a familiar American stamp my day is permanently brightened.

Familiar Food
Baking my family's favorite Mommy's Cookies recipe, or my mom's creamy Chicken Pot Pie, puts me right at home (when I don't want to cook Papa John's does too). To make it extra awesome, I like to bake a favorite and then share it with my new friends here. That way I have an excuse to tell them about my family and hear about theirs.

Exploring is one of the absolute best ways to get out of a homesick funk. "I need a scenery change," is all I have to say,and Kurt knows exactly what I mean. Going somewhere new, even if that means catching the tube to a borough a few stops away, helps me live in the now and remember how blessed I am to be here. This week Kurt and I went to Winter Wonderland, perhaps the single most crowded place in London, with oodles of screaming children and wonderful smells of mulled wine and smoked chorizo, all enjoyed while freezing our limbs numb. We also experienced Carols by Candlelight, a beautiful concert at the Royal Albert Hall (Kurt's favorite event of the season). Works wonders I tell you!

Be Honest
Be honest with yourself and with others about your homesickness - chances are you're not alone. Even if you are "alone," sharing will help you feel understood. When I've been honest about what I'm experiencing everyone's responded with lots of love and support. Not only that, but just admitting to myself that I'm missing familiarity helps me accept my situation and move on.

Do you have any tips to add? If you're spending the holidays away from home, I'd love to hear about where you are and why. You're not alone!

Michaela Rae


  1. Sorry it has been tough, Wish I had already sent something that would help cheer things up. Glad to see Alicia's card hanging in your flat. We are thinking of you even if it doesn't look that way. Love you bunches!!!

  2. this will be our first Christmas with just our little family and I'm a bit sad. I like your tips! We loaded our kids in the car tonight and drove around looking at Christmas lights, it definitely helps to explore new things

  3. Aw, I miss you too Michaela! I know how you must feel, I got quite lonely in France before royce arrived. Dont get discouraged, you will soon be back home and around family and friends-probably missing England, lol. I am glad you have been able to find some ways to enjoy yourself through it all :) Exploring was one of my favorite things to do too.

    Enjoyed reading this! <3 you!

  4. Mom, it hasn't been too bad, I've actually been surprised that it hasn't been harder. I think the things I mentioned in this post, along with making friends and being super busy with work, help a lot. Love you!

    Julia, Kurt and I have yet to go out to see Christmas lights. Maybe we'll do that this week! I hope you guys have an awesome Christmas.

    Hannah, I haven't been discouraged, I've actually been very encouraged this week. :-) I'm especially feeling the love from you and everyone back home. It's great! <3 Miss you.

  5. Hi Michaela!

    We're in Vienna this Christmas. It' our 4th consecutive Christmas away from home but God's grace is always there, so it never feels as bad as one might expect.

    Here my little tip: I absolutely love introducing new friends to American/ Jamaican-American traditions. Most of our friends in Europe have never celebrated Thanksgiving or gone to the beach on Christmas day or made a popcorn garland for the tree.

    And, of course, you get the added benefit of exchanging ideas/recipes/traditions. Fun for everyone!

    s i d.

  6. What wonderful advice, Michaela. I agree with all of these tips (and I wouldn't mind your mom's recipe for creamy chicken pot pie!). Another piece of advice is to try your hardest to recreate any and all Christmas traditions your families did growing up, and stay super intentional about starting new traditions you can carry on every new year of your marriage. But, I'm sure you guys have already been hard at work on that. :)

    Love you!

  7. I've only spent 1 Christmas out of the last 8 with family other than my husband and kids. And while in the past I've always been pretty okay with that, this year it was hard. I think it helped to focus on making new traditions for our little family, but it made me really miss my parents and siblings.


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