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Homesick in New Zealand

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Homesick in New Zealand

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I used to run a cafe in the UK, so took all I knew and set up in New Zealand. It was a new beginning, the perfect way to compliment the big changes that were happening in my life. But business has been thriving, and thankfully, I had a smooth transition.

By Joan Jenkins

Am I homesick? This question often arises at our expat meetings. I have realised now that it means vastly different things to different people. For instance, have not felt any yearning to go back home to the UK. I can honestly say, I miss nothing. It's easy to get caught up in romanticising the past, great times with great friends, but that life was long gone before I even made the big move abroad. It is a general truism that you only have friends for those periods of shared interest. For me, then, the break from close friendships was already made: I'd had a child.

A fundamental change happens when you become a mother. You lose the desire to party and adopt the role of nurture. For me, then, homesickness is illusory, a pointless nostalgia for a time of my life that had ended anyway. Plus, I had a business to think about. I used to run a cafe in the UK, so took all I knew and set up in New Zealand. It was a new beginning, the perfect way to compliment the big changes that were happening in my life. But business has been thriving, and thankfully, I had a smooth transition.

But having said that, when things are hard, it is easy to look back at the old life and wish you were still there. I can understand why people get hung up about it. People often complain that there are no family and friends there for you to moan to, to entertain you when you feel bored and unmotivated. Those comfort zones are practically gone. You know, the familiar things. From your football team to favourite soap opera. It's usually these small trivial things that mean the most, and the more stressed you feel, the more importance you give to these things. There is no doubt that starting a new life abroad comes with stress.

The best way I can think to explain life here is life here is a jigsaw: all the pieces are here, but they don't all quite fit yet. However, what I do realise is that you need to understand that you are a pioneer in a new country. You are starting a new family line and it is time to let go of the apron strings and to come to the fore as a truly independent person. With this realisation you will grow strong and confident and look forward not backward. It's still alright to miss your mum though.

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