It happens to most people at some time when they move abroad - a feeling of homesickness, missing family and friends and even sometimes British weather. It can be particularly poignant around Christmas and the New Year, so as one who has lived away from the UK for 19 years, here are a few ideas to help you deal with it:
- USE SKYPE. It really is an excellent way to stay in touch. I regularly chat to my grandchildren and their parents, of course, using Skype or similar online video/chat software. When the little one shows me the latest things they made at school or what they are wearing it is almost as if I were in the room with them. It always cheers me up and it will you too.
- BANGERS ‘N MASH. Well, probably not literally, but go and treat yourself to something British to eat that you really enjoy. Nowadays, one can find a variety of foods from the UK in Spain and although they are often expensive, when you feel you are missing things, a good meal with baked beans, English sausages, Branston pickle or whatever you like, works wonders.
- REMEMBER WHY YOU ARE IN SPAIN. Try to think of all the positive reasons you came to live in Spain, what you enjoy about being here, the friends you have made and the outdoor life you lead. Of course those back home will always be the most important, but they didn’t stop you moving and they will always be there. Focus on what you enjoy about Spain.
- MAKE FRIENDS locally. Try to get to know more expats in your area. Maybe at your children’s school or through expat clubs or associations - and there are many in Spain. Most offer varied activities and social events as well as newsletters or magazines in English to keep you up to date with what is going on in your area.
- LISTEN TO THE BBC or watch British TV. This is easier said than done since the BBC and other UK channels moved to a different satellite which had a smaller footprint than the old Astra 2. However, it is still possible to listen to the radio and watch British TV, so ask people in your area, both expats and professionals how to go about it. Having familiar programmes come into your Spanish home, will make you feel less isolated, but don’t ignore Spanish TV as it is a way to help you learn the language and engage with local people.
- DO SOMETHING YOU HAVE NEVER DONE BEFORE. Take up a new hobby or follow an interest you have always wanted to do. How about learning to dance Sevillana? Try scuba diving, padel, photography? I have done many new things since I moved to Spain and have met wonderful people and have even learned a few new skills. Once you are are involved, homesickness evaporates and life as an expat becomes really enjoyable.