Sue + Talk 3 • Home is where the Heart is... But where is my Heart?
The perks of studying abroad is amazeballs: improvement in language skills, analytical skills, social skills, you name it. However, one of the things that might be a disadvantage for me, if you can call it a disadvantage is that I don't really know where I belong.
I have always been pretty independent myself and leaving my parent's home wasn't a big deal for me. I spent 5 months in South Korea, now a year in the UK for my master's degree. It doesn't sound a lot, but as a 23-year-old student, in the exploding life stage in which, you will discover more about yourself, what you want to do in life etc, it has a pretty big impact.
Since I moved to the UK, I had a hard time settling here and in addition, I had severe homesickness, as I have told you before in my blog posts. Huh? But, didn't you just said you are independent? Well yes, I am pretty individualistic, but during my first semester I really missed home: the knowing, the culture, my parents and friends. But in the second and third semester, it went all better and I even developed my own little home in my little room. When I came back from one week family reunion in Hong Kong, it felt that my little room and the neighbourhood was my home. But, all good things must comes to an end and so I have decided to move away and stay in the Netherlands and Ireland during my dissertation time. The more the time came that I am going to the Netherlands after the exams, the more excited I was! I was so looking forward to being home. I couldn't even sleep the night before departure.
After more than 12 hours of waiting and travelling (yep, Easyjet ._.), I finally made it and was looking forward seeing my dad at home, which I thought he might be. During my trip home and sat in the bus that I have taken million times, it suddenly felt weird. It didn't feel as home, or something that I'm comfortable with. I even felt surprised when the first person at the supermarket greeted me happily: "Good morning" in Dutch. I wasn't used to this, as I was familiarised talking in English daily back in London. My hometown felt so different too: so little people (compared to London), many stores are empty/bankrupt and you can tell that my real home has been empty and neglected for months. It felt somewhat cool, I felt alienated, alienated in my own country.
When dad wasn't home, I felt so sad and lonely. Everything that I have been looking forward towards, which is home, doesn't feel like "home" anymore. But where is my home? Where do I feel comfortable? I don't have anything stable in life right now: my dad is retired and stays here and there in Asia, my brother and his little family live in Shanghai, my sister lives in London and my boyfriend is living in Ireland. As for me, I am traveling between London, Netherlands and Galway. Yes it is a perk of a wanderer/traveller whatever you want to call it, and yes it might be looking very international, however I still don't know where my heart is. I only have plans for the future (if I buy a house, that will probably be in the Netherlands), but not for short-term.
I don't know how long I am able to keep this strong. Maybe it will be less intense and I just need a couple days to adjust here. But there are few things that have been bothering me between my town and London already.
Netherlands: staff in stores are awkward and don't always greet you (sincerely)
London: staff is mostly super friendly and give you a good welcome
Netherlands: coffee is served in really small cups. And, where are the coffee shops btw?! And why are they closing at 6pm?! No, I don't mean Moccachino, but an americano with a splash of milk.
London: coffee shops in every corner and a large iced White Americano please!
Netherlands: why are my Euro's going so fast? It has only been one day and my money is flying everywhere.
London: don't spend too much pounds. save it for later.
Netherlands: hey, I can drink from the tap now!
London: tapwater is nasty.
HOWEVER, my boyfriend and I have planned many exciting things for our little break, so I am looking forward to that! So much excitements, yay!