Thursday, February 6, 2014

Homesickness Cures

Ok, there really are no real cures for homesickness (besides the obvious which is not an option for me). It's crazy how one moment I can feel so lucky. So alive, spontaneous and happy living in this foreign, wonderful place. You know, when you get those ever-so fleeting moments and you say, 'ah, yes, this is what living is.' Those moments happen quite often here.

But then there is the other side of the coin. There are moments when I'm extremely sick of my scenery. When the exact reasons why I love this new and different city become the main reminders that I am so far from home. There are many moments when I just want to be home. So I have figured out that the best way to deal with homesickness overseas is to 1) distract myself completely from those feelings or 2) recreate the comfort of home in a number of ways. I usually opt for the latter, unless the homesickness has come on extra strong, in which case total distraction is my best bet. Here are some of my cures:

1) surround myself with people. Sure, they're not my family. Hell they may not even be close friends, not like my friends from home. But the social interaction takes my mind away from thinking about home and in the end, I always feel better.

2) get a change of scenery. Whether it be hiking, exploring a new town, or even just going to an area of the city unseen, surrounding myself something new usually rejuvenates and reminds me that there are endless amounts of beauty to be appreciated in this place.

3) eat and/or drink. Sometimes just a little homemade spaghetti and meatballs and some wine is all I need to feel a little less homesick. Those comfort foods from home make a big difference. So when I feel homesick, I make an American breakfast, a burger, or a big batch of brownies. Or I just eat lunch at noon and dinner at 6- there's a nostalgia in that routine and it's unheard of here!

4) choose a show/movie from my childhood. Friends, Greys Anatomy, Little Women. My go-to's. It reminds me of lazy days at home in Connecticut.

5) distract myself in other ways. I've come to notice that homesickness creeps in when I find I have too much free time. So I go to the gym, I do a craft or clean my house. Just busying myself usually subsides the feeling of homesickness.

6) skype. What was the glue that held Nacho and I together when I was in the U.S. now brings me close to everyone else I love. Thank god for technology.

7) count my blessings. I think about how lucky I am, how happy I am, and how blessed my life is. I think about the endless possibilities of where my choices have led and will lead me to and try to harness energy and excitement for the future. Keeping perspective is what helps me the most.

Madrid- Looking east from the Reina Sofia museum near Atocha
(If all else fails play music that makes you happy very loudly) 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Toledo Wandering

Last year Nacho and I had a wonderful three day vacation in Toledo. We spent our time strolling through the narrow streets, eating mazapán and continuing to know each other and grow closer with each moment. After that trip, Toledo has always held a special place in my heart. When I hear the name I am taken back to those three fun days. The town is small and enclosed, and I felt as though it was a bubble that only Nacho and I shared. Last weekend, some of my American friends asked if I wanted to join them for a day in Toledo (since it's only forty minutes south of Madrid, it makes for a perfect day-trip). I was hesitant for a moment. I didn't want this trip to change my idea of the city, as if new experiences in Toledo could somehow affect the precious memories I kept from my previous time there. But of course I was happy to go back to this beautiful place and spend the day with really nice, interesting people (who speak English!).