Homesickness, & The Thoughts of Someone, Leaving Everything Behind

Hello readers. Today’s post was conceived when I started to think about the near future that awaits me. Very soon I will be moving to Grand Rapids, Michigan to live with some buddies and get a job paying off my unforgivable student loans. THEN, when my paperwork for moving to New Zealand gets passed, I will be moving to NZ and working over there for as long as I am needed. I am a Social Worker, it’s what I do. New Zealand needs Social Workers to help the youth and the ever growing epidemic of depression and suicide.

All of this has caused me to think about everything. Everything: What I wont have when I’m gone, who I wont see when I’m gone, what I wont get to do when I’m gone, what I wont be able to buy when I’m gone, TV programs that wont be featured, food that I wont get to eat, American clothes, my favorite little places that I now will not be able to go to, streets I wont recognize, rules I wont know, customs I have to get used to, culture I have to memorize, slang I have to attempt to understand, shock I have to overcome, on and on it goes…

Some of the things I mentioned above are trivial, but they are running through my mind none-the-less. I feel like these are common thoughts that any rational person would think if they were too moving far, far away to a new country. I just know that I am trying to pack as much “U.S. life” into these last few months that I can, in hopes that it will leave a mark long enough for me not to miss it. I’m not very big on homesickness. I never really have been, but it comes in spurts every 3-5 months, where I start wanting to see family again. For this reason I’ll let you in on a little traveling secret I learned many years ago. This will help you with homesickness wherever you go:

Home is where the “family” is.

This may seem confusing if your family is nowhere near you. Let me explain. Your home is going to be wherever you have “family” and friends. I put family in quotes for a reason. When I went to Calvin College six years ago, I started missing home bad. What helped cure my homesickness? I made some serious, lifelong friends in a matter of weeks. Soon, I was off having adventures with them in strange and amazing places, making memories that I will keep with me for my entire life. In 2006, I made a “family” at that college. A family that I still keep in contact with to this day. One member of that “family” asked me to stand up in his wedding as his Best Man. We really helped each other in that time of need…away from our families and homes we knew dear.

Listen to me. Go out and make this happen. It rarely happens on its own.

So if you are ever far, far away from your family, don’t look at this idea as “replacing” your immediate family, but more along the lines of “creating” a new support system for yourself to carry you through those tough nights you wish you were in the comfort and stability of what you know and understand. I am NOT telling you to forget your family. Skype them, write them, call them, but don’t mourn them like they are dead. Trust me, this little life lesson is something that will drastically change how you look at leaving everything behind to experience something life changing. Don’t let homesickness get in the way of something that can mold you into who you were meant to become.

8 thoughts on “Homesickness, & The Thoughts of Someone, Leaving Everything Behind

  1. Angela

    It is very true that you can develop a sort of family wherever you go. It has been one of the most rewarding aspects of living overseas-the strong relationships that take the place of our family on a day-to-day basis. I truly think that some of them are family for life. The sad part is that because of the great distance those two groups of people almost never get to meet each other. Also, when we come home to see that our family’s life went on without us and that have missed so many things, it’s a pretty sad feeling.

  2. How exciting and terrifying! For a decade now I’ve wanted to just pick up and move somewhere epic. Alas, I don’t have that kind of courage. Kudos to you! Good luck in your journey.

  3. Natalie Goodwin

    Eric I think it is really great that you are going to have this life changing experience, especially in New Zealand which is such a beautiful place. Family is such a blessing (family and “family”) and it’s so true that you can find a “family” anywhere God places you. I can’t wait to hear about all the amazing things you’ll be doing in NZ!

  4. Sharon Peterson

    I am about to cry. You, my only son, will be experiencing a lot of new things in a place far, far away from us. I know it is going to be tough when you go, but I know this is the path that you feel God has chosen for you and there is no better place to be than where God wants us. I am so blessed to have you as my son and am proud of whom you have become. It hasn’t been easy but you have persevered and can enjoy the fruit of your labor. I love you, Son!

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