By now I have come to accept for me that part of being overseas means needing to manage being homesick--its not something that is going to go away, its part of the experience for me, and the task for me is managing it so it does not interfere unduly with getting the PhD done. http://www.phenomenologyonline.com/articles/winning.html
Link to the best article I have found that really explains the experience in a way that makes sense to me, and what can trigger it and why. It also makes me reflect on those things that I miss, and what can help manage the homesickness, curiously often enough is plugging on my earphones and listening to what is distinctly American music--Mo Town! Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and then pre Mo Town, Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong...but all very American and bring to me some feelings of familiarity!
Olivia that is a damn fine article.. thanks for the link.. :-)
it made me feel all melancholic again about oz ... i've been away for 5 years now... originally i went only for 10months to europe to do my MA and somehow 5 years have slipped by
i used to do the same as you and listen to music that reminded me of oz [tripleJ or 3PBS radio web stream]... then as time wore on i did it less and less often.. i also remember ringing up my mum in the middle of the european winter and asking her to send me dried gumtree leaves from her yard so i could put them up in the house and feel more at home in the alien landscape surrounded by non-english speakers (my housemates being totally unaware of what a eucalyptus leaf looks like have accidentally used them to flavour their soup thinking they were bay leaves.. then complained bitterly on their flavour.. lmfao)
after 3 years of being away i went back home for a short 3 week visit which stretched to 5 months... and a strange thing happened ... i realised that 'home' has changed.. and even though there was the comforting reality of being able to slip back into being in oz .. there was also the knowledge that i no longer fully belonged here [and prolly never did due to the fact that i migrated to oz with my folks when i was 10yo i always had a feeling of 'otherness']... i love oz but i miss all the other countries i've lived in at the same time. this is a limbo for which there is no cure... [except for msn an emails... and that is debatable anyway..lol]
my accent is unplaceable for the locals now.. in the uk they think in safa or kiwi.. in europe they think im australian... and in oz they think i'm scottish.. i cant bloody win.. lmfao.. nor do i care to win that game anymore :-P
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homesickness, it is very funny, when i was in my country and had to live in a hostel of university in the same city my home was in (bcz of extended hours of my torturous MBA program) in the first month i felt terribly homesick. and now i am thousands of mile away from my home in a different country, and culture, and i dont feel homesick (though i have to confess i am staying with my sis family).
i dont agree that homesickness has anything to do with being away from your home or family or country. it more so stems from feeling alienated. you can feel alienated in your own hometown (like my MBA program example, because it was so brutally competitive, that it took me a long time to feel at home there, start feeling secure, and make friends) and love a place which is thousands of miles away from your so called roots. any place that makes you feel welcome, offers you friendship and security and identity (professional or whatever) is a home :-x
I suppose the entire experience of homesickness is very individuated. It probably has a lot to do with the experiences of a place you call "home", or whether in fact there is a single place that you identify as "home" and what your connections and attachments are to it, and how much of that place is internalized in who you are. I have heard it said and I would agree, that people from cities and urban environments do not really see themselves as part of or attached to the landscape. They literally have none to attach to, other than concrete and buildings. How much of an identity is attached to that I do not personally know. There is some of course, but, whether there is the sense of rootedness like the article discusses, I do not, in my own experience, know.
I found the article to give a very good description of how I feel about being away from home. It for me has nothing to do wth the friendliness or desirability of where I am--that can be fine and well, but it still, nevertheless, is not home. The way that the article quotes Mole from Wind in the Willows and his feelings about his own home, are exactly how I feel about mine. My home, the landscape, the wide horizon and the skies, the certain warmth of a south wind in the summer, the smell of fresh hay being mown, the orange bittersweet berries in the fall, the russet of the grass in winter--those are all things with a lot of meaning to me, in a way that transcends simple landscapes...its hard to explain. I think the article does a better job than I can.
Tunes to PhD by:
Thunder Road by the Boss!
Melissa Etheridge and Joss Stone doing Janis Joplin
The Band and the Staple Singers doing The Weight
Anything at all that has Mavis Staples in it, I love her voice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jersey Girl, Springsteen again!
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