By Wiwin Hartini
It’s almost been three years since the last time I saw my family at home in Indonesia. I often think that it’s not that long ago until I suddenly miss home badly. I miss speaking my native language, eating cheap local food, being with my family and friends and enjoying the tropical weather.
It feels funny and lonely sometimes when the people around you speak a totally different language, have hair and skin that are different from yours and find things humorous that I need to think about sometimes. Is this real? All I want at that time is to be home watching my family’s favorite movie chosen by my younger brothers. It’s good to feel this way to some extent because it makes me appreciate the time I get to spend with people here in the U.S., which will not be forever.
Recognizing this feeling is also hard when you’re trying to look like you’re fine all the time. But I think it is important to be aware of it because it can happen to anyone at any time.
Here are a few things that I found work for me when I feel like I just want to go back home.
Get busy with activities you enjoy
Getting involved in clubs, organizations or working on campus can shift our thoughts. Working on campus has been a good tool for me because I have to think about getting my work done and learn new job skills.
Try those food carts around PSU
I would say this is my favorite activity when I am thinking about food at home. At least, I get to try different types of food at the carts across Fourth Avenue from the Engineering building. My favorite is Pho, and yes, the first time I tried it was actually in the U.S.
Less social media
It gets frustrating sometimes when you look at your friends’ social media and they seem so happy without you, isn’t it? Well, I’m happy when they’re happy, but I feel like I’m missing something. This feeling can trigger homesickness too. So, use social media wisely; such as actually to communicate instead of looking at people’s posts only.
The U.S. is big, travel if you can!
It doesn’t have to be expensive; small trips with friends can be fun. The idea is to create activities we can look forward to. My friend from China and I are planning to visit San Francisco this spring break. The fun part so far is trying to figure out the places that are worth visiting.
Remember the reason we’re here
Why am I here? Answering this question helps me during difficult times.
There are more to share, but I hope whoever is experiencing homesickness doesn’t feel alone anymore.