Keeping the home connections alive
When you first move overseas your whole life is dictated by everything new around you. So even though you might feel emotionally attached to ‘back home’ (the people, the familiarity, the customs, and the news) in order to settle you need to be on a mission to get to know your new adopted country as fast as possible.
You need to let go of the old in order to let in the new
And then after a while, even without you really noticing it, something strange happens – you start to disconnect from your home country. Before you know it, you’ve not spoken to your friend in weeks, you’ve missed the latest big thing going on back home and emotionally you’re more plugged into your new country.
None of this is an issue because moving abroad requires a degree of disconnection to make your new life work.
But what you don’t want to do is lose touch completely with your home country or your friends there, especially if you already know you’re going back.
I was living overseas when Princess Diana died and although I wasn’t a big fan, the huge surge of emotion that took over the country which some of my friends kept me in touch with, made me feel a long way from home. It was like something was happening in my home country that I wasn’t part of. Then when I watched the funeral coverage with American sensationalist journalism, I realised just how accustomed I was to our more sober royal coverage.
So let’s look at some ways to keep in touch.
- Subscribe to a physical or online newspaper or magazine from your native country. Sometimes you can get weekly ones that do a roundup of all the news. Or maybe you can get your usual daily either free online or with a subscription.
- These days it’s entirely possible to listen to local or even national radio stations from your home country on the computer even if you’re miles away from home. This is a great way to stay in touch with current affairs and listen to your favourite programmes.
- Television can be different but there are certain services that allow you to watch your can’t miss TV programmes. Alternatively, YouTube is an amazing resource and quite often you’ll find entire series uploaded, albeit in bite-sized chunks.
- Have virtual coffee meet-ups. I know of a group of friends who still meet fortnightly over a coffee – even though they’re thousands of miles apart! They chat via Skype where you can make group calls and make sure they still have a coffee in their hands. It’s a great way to keep up a set routine with your friends back home, albeit with a twist.
- Blog about your adventures. Blogging allows your friends and family back home to comment on your experiences and ask questions or share something similar back. It encourages a conversation rather than one-way traffic.
- If you want to stay connected to your wider circle of friends it’s about making a point of contacting them and making the effort. If you can’t stay on top of it make a list of their names and once each week phone someone off that list! I know a client who actually puts calling friends into her to-do lists. It works for her even though it has a slightly worky feel.
- Check out any new book releases from authors who are either from your home country or are setting their book in your home country. They’re usually quite topical and give you with a feel of what’s happening back home.
- If you belong to an expat group and people are going back and forth you can get the latest that way.
Moving abroad means a lot of change and in order to make that change work you need to throw yourself into your new country. But once you’ve acclimatised there is a danger you might start to lose contact with life back home.
Keeping in touch with your home country is about making the effort but it’s also about finding the right balance between new and old.
By Jane Bennett
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