Jan 22, 2014

Posted by in Blog, Canada, Expat Life Abroad, New Zealand | 0 Comments

On Leaving Home, Again

Standing in the kitchen, I bawled as I hugged my little sister.

leaving home againI hugged my pug and sobbed some more.
leaving home againStanding at the airport with my parents, the waterworks turned on again.

When I left Nova Scotia in 2009 to study in New Zealand, I was going for one year to study, but I’d bought a one-way ticket. The chances of me coming back were pretty slim and I didn’t know when I’d be seeing my family again. As exciting as it was to be off on a new adventure at 23, it was really hard to leave.

That was 5 years ago.

Since then, I’d been home once, for all of 10 days. My parents and sister had come out to visit me for Christmas 2010, and while they were with me, my Grandad lost his short battle with cancer. Booking a ticket about 4 days before they were due to fly, I went with them to the airport, and also flew home for the funeral.

I wasn’t going off into the unknown; I was excited to return to the life I’d created in New Zealand. I wasn’t alone either. I’m travelling with Thom and he does his best not to let me get too sad. He’ll distract, me cheer me up and focus on all the good things in life if need be. Otherwise, he just gives me a big squeeze of a hug when I need it. But it’s not very often that it even comes to that.

leaving home again

Things were different. Still around the same time of year, and I was saying the goodbyes all over again after spending just several months being near family and friends. And saying ‘see ya later’ to each of them still sucked.

This time, though there were a few tears at the train station, our departure was filled with smiles, laughs and hugs. My grandmother joined us, as she and my parents were on their way to Florida after they left us.
leaving home again at the train station

Although it’s never easy to leave my family, it’s something I’m used to doing. It comes with the territory of leaving your comfort zone, something I’ve been doing since I was 16. I’m so grateful that my parents raised me to be independent and encouraged me to go off and try new things on my own.

It’s amazing the difference all of us owning an iPhone has made in keeping in contact. With iMessage, I can send text messages to my mom, dad or sister (not to mention so many of my friends too) when I’m in NZ without worrying about international rates. The convenience of FaceTime is also awesome – my dogs recognise my voice, although they do get confused why they can hear and see me, but I am not petting them.
facetime - leaving home again

I guess what I’ve learned after being away from home for so long and at different distances, is that keeping homesickness at bay comes down to an effort to stay in touch. I could be living an hour’s drive away from my family and friends and still only see them as often as I do already.

It’s so easy for life to happen and get in the way. When you make an effort to keep in contact with your loved ones, in whatever way suits you (for me it’s certainly writing not emails consistently). Find what works for you and then make it happen.


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