Upon coming back from a long weekend away, I overheard a mother on the phone with her kids at JFK airport on Sunday (Mother’s day). Dressed in jeans, paired with a well-tailored blazer, standing beside a Rimowa business trolley, iPhone on her ear, Blackberry in the other hand, she was evidently at the airport on business. On the phone with her children, she was endlessly thanking them for them flowers she had received and the breakfast in bed at her hotel. When she got off the phone, she quickly wiped her eyes and pulled out her laptop.
It made me feel an incredible wave of sadness for this woman who was clearly missing her family, which led me to think my own situation. They say the hardest part about living abroad is the holiday periods. I guess because the majority of people you meet have their families either local, close by or a short plane ride away – in comparison to a steep 16,000kms for us Aussie-New Yorkers! Expatriates don’t always have the luxury of planning that short trip to be in the comfort and company of our family and closest friends and let’s be honest, homesickness is a creeper! I thought as Clarity’s resident Aussie in the city, I would focus this month’s blog on 5 tips to survive the holiday periods when you’re oh-so-far from home!
1 TRAVEL- You moved abroad for a reason, home just wasn’t cutting it! Plan that short trip away, add another pin to the cities of the world you’ve seen! There’s nothing more distracting and self- satisfying than losing yourself in the unknown of a foreign city. An upside of traveling during the major holiday periods is if you plan ahead, you usually get to sneak in an extra day or two away without dipping into your leave allowances
2. SKYPE- Its free, its instantaneous and lets face it, we’re all on the internet, so there’s no excuse for not connecting with those familiar faces you love and miss! A pal of mine likes to do Sunday dinner with her family, even though their dinner time is her breakfast. It’s exactly what you’re thinking, the laptop is set up as a place at the dinner table, she eats her brekkie, they eat their dinner.. Et voila! Family dinner!
3. VOLUNTEER- Whether it is a local or an international cause, the world is so caught up in disaster that I guarantee, if you thought about the issues close to your heart, you would find a relevant group who would be happy to have you help! Volunteering is great for your mind, heart, body & soul. The side perks are pretty fruitful, when you think about the networking and social aspect involved while doing good for the world!
4. REACH OUT TO YOUR SUPPORT NETWORK – Its tough moving abroad, especially on your lonesome, but the key to survival is creating that support network… From the get-go don’t shell yourself away, meet people, be open to conversation.. You never know whom you’re going to meet or whom they’re going to introduce you to! Amongst the friends I have in the city, I recently made a couple of close gal-pals who I know I can reach out to during the tough times, especially during the holiday periods!
5. INDULGE YOURSELF! – Treat yourself to an amazingly delicious meal, get a small group of fellow expats together and book a table at your favorite party brunch/ dinner venue, an afternoon pamper package at a spa, soak in the amazing views the city has to offer by taking a walk/ run by the west or east rivers, give the credit card a good workout and go shopping.. I could go on and on.. This city is kind of amazing and the options are endless!
What are your tips for surviving the holiday periods??