January is generally a shit month for everyone. After the highs of all the parties and nights out over Christmas, you are always brought back down to earth with a bang once the new year begins. The January blues usually kick in that moment when you realise that you have go back to work tomorrow!!
The January blues for me this year however were a different experience completely. Whilst I felt those same old emotions that everyone else feels, I felt something that I had not experienced before.................homesickness. Since I moved here I have not felt homesickness once..................until this January. Don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean that I have not missed home since I moved it's just that this felt different. Sweden has everything that I could get in England but somehow I suddenly felt like an outsider and began missing all the familiar surroundings. I think it maybe has something to do with the climate. It has been snowing here for the last 3 months, and that itself can become quite depressing. My sister loved the snow when she came to visit but that was only for 4 days. After 3 months the novelty wears off!!
Although I was getting tired of the weather I don't think it was the root cause of why I was feeling down................although I'm sure it played a part! I could not put my finger on why I was feeling this way. First I thought it was my job. Work had become quite stressful but nothing more stressful than I had dealt with before................Then I had a revelation.
I have done a lot during my first year here but now that I have settled in my job and bought a new apartment, it somehow felt that I had reached my goals. The whole first year had been one long adventure and it seems that there was always something new happening. In January the adventure came to a halt. I had no surprises anymore in England so when I moved here it was great as I was experiencing new things all the time..............but lately it was as if things had come to a stand still. It felt like there was nothing new on the horizon, nothing to look forward to. I had felt this way before back in England but the difference then was that I had my close friends and family around to take my mind off things when I needed to. I didn't see them all the time but just knowing that everyone who cares about you is close by is a comfort. It's definitely something we take for granted.
If I'm honest, I never expected to feel homesick. I read somewhere that that the number one thing to know about homesickness is that it will happen at some point. Some cases will be worse than others, but they say that if you expect that the feeling of longing for your home-country will show up at some point, you have a better chance at dealing with it. I'm sure that I am not the first person to feel this way. There must be others like me who didn't ever expect to be hit by homesickness that suddenly find themselves missing the familiarity of home and friends................the trick of course is learning to cope with it.
Aicha was really great to me during this time. It's always good to talk about how you feel, and whilst not everyone has the answers, making them aware of your feelings gives them a better chance of understanding what you are going through. They may not be able to come up with many suggestions other than being a listener but luckily for me Aicha had experienced this herself. She suggested a few things which really helped me and after a few days things began feeling better for me..........................watching the 'Only Fools & Horses' boxset did me a world of good!!
One of the things she suggested was keeping more contact with those at home. I speak to my family back home once a week but its normally just to my Mum. My aim now is speak to everyone at least once a week, but its not always easy catching everyone when they are free! We have also arranged a trip to UK for April, which I'm really looking forward to, and now that my sister is getting married in September, I will be there again in the summer. I love it when I go back home! After my trip to the UK in December I did not know when I would be going back and I think not knowing when I would see everyone again played a part in my homesickness. The other thing I need to do is get them over here more regularly. I've talked about it a few times with my brothers but nothing has been arranged yet so I need to push them on that one!
The other thing I realised is that I needed some new goals. The only box I have not yet ticked that I set out to when I moved here is to be fluent in Swedish. That is still a goal of mine but its not a cool goal like starting a new career or buying an apartment!! I will admit that I do not invest enough of myself in it but in time I hope I will.
It is always important to have a focus, something to work towards and look forward to. For years Aicha and I have discussed going to the USA but it never materialised. This year however we decided to go for it and I am thrilled to say that we have now finally booked our dream holiday! 5 cities over 3 weeks...................LA, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Washington DC and then finally New York. It's gonna be awesome! My goal now is too work hard and save as much money as possible to fund this trip........................cos Vegas ain't gonna be cheap!.................except the hotel though, that actually was the cheapest of the lot!!
My Swedish Adventure is back on and I now have loads of other things to look forward to. Football training has started again (another thing I had missed) and the team have arranged a pre-season boat trip to Finland, and the guest of honour is Ian Rush!! How cool is that! Rushie was one of my hero's growing up so I can't wait to be in his company.....................although they do say that you should never meet your hero's as you will only be disappointed! I'm sure I won't be though..................Rushie will always be a legend!
Having experienced homesickness, I thought it would be a good idea to post about it as I feel this may happen again someday and I can always use this as a reminder of how to beat the January blues!.........................all you need a Only Fools & Horses DVD boxset, a dream holiday and some football......................and Ian Rush!