There's a funny feeling that I've been getting recently. It first struck me last Friday, and then again yesterday. On the Friday I moped around feeling quite empty, not understanding why. Eventually I realised that I was homesick - I was missing my home, my family, boyfriend, friends, dogs....
Homesickness is not a nice feeling. To miss something (or some things, someone) so dearly....well, it hurts. I proceeded to spend most of the day trawling through Facebook or photos on my phone. This didn't really help at all. In fact it probably just made it worse! But since we had no plans I didn't really have anything else to do but read - reading, I found, did help as it would take my mind off home for a while.
Over the weekend I was fine, then it struck me again yesterday. This time, it was much worse - I had nothing to do (G was studying and the others were out), I had finished my book on Friday and wanted to save my only other English book until later in the month. So, I sat down outside with a little sketchbook and my new set of sketching pencils and......I cried. I really couldn't help it - the tears just came pouring out. I had no idea what else I could do to cope with this horrible, horrible feeling.
However later on, when the others had returned, and we sat down to eat dinner, and went out for a walk by the river and got a gelato each, and watched Pirates of the Caribbean (turns out G loves Johnny Depp!)....I felt fine. I've realised that when I have nothing to do, I feel crap, and then I miss home more. On top of that, I get quite tired in the day, due to it being pretty warm, the early starts (usually around 7.30am. I don't mind early mornings, but not every morning...) and the lack of breakfast (more on that next time).
So now, to overcome the homesickness, I have a plan: things that I can do when I feel this way, and when there's nothing going on because G is studying.
1. Find something to read - in either language. This morning I've bought two magazines, plus borrowed two books from the library when I went with G earlier, all in Italian, and I have one last English book.
2. Go for a walk in the sunshine. The weather seems to be getting better, and I seem to know (at least part of) my way around town now!
3. Listen to music. This is a little difficult as I didn't really put much on my phone before leaving...all the same, I've managed to create a little playlist. Today I've had this song stuck in my head:
4. Have a nap. I know that nine times out of ten I think I'm feeling homesick, when I'm actually just exhausted.
5. Think happy thoughts! About how I'm here in Italy, I've taken a big step into the big bad world all by myself, I'm learning and I really, truly, am enjoying myself. I don't know how well this works for other people, but when I think happy, I become happy.
And if all that fails...I can't bloody well cry. I need to learn to man up! I'm doing something similar next month, where I go off to an unfamiliar place, by myself, and god knows if my new housemates will speak any English, for any comfort whatsoever!
It's time to acknowledge this for what it is: an adventure. It's difficult, but it's certainly an amazing experience.
Keep your fingers crossed for me.