Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cures for Homesickness

Lately, I've been a little homesick.

Not miserably so; far from it. I'm pretty happy here, but it's hard to settle in to a new place in a bigger city when you've just spent three years in a small town where almost everyone knows almost everyone else and where you practically live with all of your friends and classmates.

Luckily, though, I've been living abroad (off and on) since I was 15, so I'm getting pretty good at dealing with homesickness. These are the things that always make me feel better - or at least make me feel like I'm not the only person in the world who has felt this way before!

1. Betsy and the Great World, by Maud Hart Lovelace
The Betsy-Tacy series includes several of my most beloved books, and the 9th book in the series is perhaps my favorite. I first read it when I was barely 16, living in France, and pretty homesick most of the time. It was such a comfort. Following 22-year-old Betsy Ray across Europe in 1914 always makes me feel more glad to be in Europe and less sad not to be in the U.S. I take it with me everywhere I go.

2. Les Demoiselles de Rochefort a film with music by Michel Legrand - or the soundtrack
This is one of my favorite movies. A musical, in French, with Gene Kelly speaking in a wonderful and hilarious American accent (though I've never been able to figure out how much of his part is dubbed). Anyway, it concerns two young women, dissatisfied with their small town lives and lack of love, and lots of amazing costumes and nice songs. It also reminds me how much I've learned through these experiences and how worthwhile it all is. Each time I watch it, I understand a new aspect, plot twist, or scene better, and I'm so glad I went to France, which was the foundation for all of my other trips abroad.

3. Alles is Liefde
A Dutch Sinterklaas movie, inspired by Love Actually. Every time I watch it, I feel like I could never bear to leave this beautiful country. I also have the same type of learning experience as I do with #2, only this time, it's with the Dutch language and culture.

4. "Frasier"
Sometimes I just want to be sad. Getting over it is all very good, but happiness isn't so great if it isn't contrasted with occasional periods of sadness. So when I just want to miss the Pacific Northwest, I curl up with a cup of tea and a few episodes of Frasier, which always crack me up, and have since I was a little kid.

5. Portland's Wikipedia page
A similar way to wallow that is always fun - and educational! - is to spend some quality time with Portland's wikipedia page, learning some awesome new facts. When people here ask me about Portland, I tend to overwhelm them with random facts. I start with the more well-known things - the Simpsons! Nike! - and then move on to the obscure. For example, did you know that Portland is the second-largest wheat port in the WORLD? Also, it has the most beer-breweries of any city in the United States. And, the Portland Art Museum has 40,000 pieces, compared to Seattle's 25,000, and is the 7th oldest art museum in the country, and the oldest on the West Coast.

Take as many doses as necessary, preferably with chocolate, and you'll be good as new in no time!


Jeanine said...

Glad to see you've also discovered Green & Blacks - I love the Butterscotch one!

I was a little homesick as well last week - I really miss Middelburg sometimes. But then I just have to remind myself that is is EXCITING to live in another country :)

lshere said...

You really do know how to be homesick and enjoy it.