Living Abroad And Missing Family and Friends ‘Back Home’

What’s the most difficult thing about living abroad? For us, it’s missing family and friends. Frequent visits as well holding on to our traditions is what helps us getting by.

When first moving abroad you almost have holiday feeling. You discover your city with the passion of an eager tourist. Then after a while, you get used to it all, and feel more settled. And as everyday life goes by you can once in a while find yourself missing family, friends and just ‘home’. And you have a feeling of missing out.

Your best friend gives birth, your sister is celebrating her birthday, another friend is going through a difficult divorce… There’s times you wish you could hold a hand, laugh or cry together with – or just be there with the ones you care about. And then you find yourself in an entirely different country.

Seeing how families gather for Sunday lunches in the UK makes you questioning if you are depriving your little ones from contact, especially with close family such as grandparents. In an ideal world we would of course have lived a short walk from our parents. Not only would it have been great in terms of help with child care, but also a mutual pleasure in spending time together for the young and old generation.

But we have chosen to move abroad, to take our little family and go on an adventure in a foreign country. And you can’t have it all.

Now, Norway is luckily only an two hour flight away. It’s not like we’ve moved to the other side of the world. And with budget airlines it’s easy to go several times a year. In fact most of our holidays are spent in Norway, visiting our family. And quite frequently they will visit us here too. And when they do, they will stay for days, not hours, like they would have if we lived in the same city. And by staying with us, we get lots of quality time together.

Most holidays are spent with family and close friends in Norway, or here in London.

When we are not together, we share small and big events via email and social media to stay in touch. What did parted families do before Facebook and Instagram!? 😉

We truly enjoy our adventure but must admit that missing family and friends as well as feeling ever a bit homesick once in a while can be a challenge.

There’s some very good advice online on how to make the most out of living abroad. Like this; 19 techniques to reduce homesickness abroad, from the blog

What do you do when you get homesick, or miss family and friends?

5 thoughts on “Living Abroad And Missing Family and Friends ‘Back Home’

  1. I moved to the Middle East a couple of days ago as I got a job here. I’ve been missing my family, specially my dear mother so much that I’ve cried for hours and hours and skyped for as long as I could. The pain is excruciating, it’s much more than physical pain at this point for me. I’ve always been very close to my mother and even though I’m 26, I feel like a toddler without a mother here. I really don’t know how the pain will ease up. The only reason I ended up on your page is because I was trying to find an answer, and reading your blog just made me miss my family even more. I know things get better with time but the pain of not being close to my mom is incurable and I can totally relate to all the expats who are living without their family and friends.

  2. Dearest you. I absolutely agree with you. And modern technology like FaceTime and Skype certainly does not help, but on the contrary can be very upsetting when seeing someone you love and knowing you cannot give them a hug. Bad weather and the darkest time of the year with lots of adverts talking about spending time with loved ones are not great either. Hang in there. Brighter days will come. If not, moving back is always a option. x

  3. Hi,

    I’ve been living in Uk for nearly 10 years now. The pain of missing my family has got deeper and heavier, it is to the point that i am considering to give up everything and move back to home. Talking over the phone or Skypeing is not easing off. I can’t be there through thick and thin and it tortures me to the point that i cry some days. I am afraid I don’t have any tips to help you with, i wonder if anyone else feels this way when living away from a family and how they did handle it. Thanks.

  4. Dear Kirsty. There is definitely plusses and minuses living abroad. Of course it would have been lovely to have the grandparents down the road. But sometimes we have to compromise. And you are absolutely right about support from expat community. Luckily we have a great community for Norwegians in London. 🙂 All the best, Bianca x

  5. Its very nice to hear your thoughts, I feel the same way living here in Italy. I agree that the time we get to spend together is totally quality time, we can pretty much dedicate the whole week or two with catching up and doing things together, which we wouldn’t always be able to do if we lived in the same country! It’s actually the only way I feel better about the situation by telling myself this constantly! Of course , also there is the worry about the future ,as our parents age etc.. but I suppose that will also be similar should we be living in a different city. Its only other Expats that we can understand what we go through.. at least we can all support one another 🙂 xx

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