Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Away from home

When our relatives are at home, we have to think of all their good points or it would be impossible to endure them.

A Lolita appreciates her friends and family. She knows how much they love her, and everything they sacrifice for her benefit. She is grateful when they put up with her ruffles, lace and princessly behaviour. She understands when they find her a bit much!

There are Lolitas out there who, like me, are and have been away from their loved ones for an extended period of time. It can be very difficult to not cross the line from staying in touch, to practically being at home. Here's how to walk the line:
  • Throw yourself into life where you are. Relish the new things you are learning. Talk to people that are different to your usual friends. Widen your horizons. Keep a box, and put tit-bits of memories from your new life in the box...notes from new friends, bus tickets from adventures, photos. Everything that reminds you of good times. Look through this box when you're missing home, and remind yourself why you're here.
  • Keep in light contact with your home life. Some people recommend going cold turkey from contacting your family. I disagree. A change of lifestyle is difficult; don't give yourself too many challenges at once. I find speaking to my loved ones on msn is the best way. I'm using the computer anyway, so it makes sense so say a quick hello. I've found I speak with my family often enough for me not to miss them, but not so often that it interferes with my life. Msn is quite 'detached'; it doesn't have the same emotional strain as a phone call.
  • Write letters. Msn is great for keeping everyone updated, but a handwritten letter to say 'Thanks for the ongoing support' will go down really well. Remember, your new life seems normal without your family, but they are continuing their regular lives without you, which seems a lot stranger. I write letters to my Grandad (talking about the weather is always good, as it helps them to imagine your situation).
  • Don't count down the days. Continually thinking 'I have another X days until I'm home' is reaalllyyy going to drag the time out. Make sure you're too busy to be thinking about going home. You should be excited about what's happening in your new life, not about when you're leaving.
  • Count the months. I know that I arrived in Qu├ębec on the 13th of August. I know I arrived in Baie Comeau specifically on the 25th of August. So tomorrow will be six months in Baie Comeau. I like knowing how much time I've been here, and it often crops up in conversation with local people. However I only think about these anniversaries around the date that another month passes; the rest of the month I'm waaay too busy having hilarious fun times.
  • Keep some home comforts somewhere close to you. I have a teddy bear shaped bag (Henry - coincidentally the same name as my letter writing Grandad) that I've filled with some things from my family and friends. I take him to bed every night, and that way I feel close to my home.
Mushy, yes, but effective.