AMA: “How do you cope with homesickness? Is it difficult to stay close with family when they are so far away? P.S. I love your blog, it inspires me to want to travel more and experience the world.”

Thank you, that means a lot to me 🙂

First, I haven’t felt tragically homesick yet. I’ve wanted to be here for a long time, so I’m set on making it the best experience I can. I actually declined a work offer to visit Seattle for a conference this month (sorry guys). It feels too soon to return in the midst of trying to build my new life here in Paris. I guess I’m a little afraid of having to mentally reset myself and say goodbye all over again.

I haven’t felt a longing to return to SF or Seattle yet because there are so many new exciting things to do here. However, I do feel guilty for not being able to pay attention to relationships like I did before. It tore me up that I didn’t know one of my best friends was interviewing for a new job, or that my parents were hosting a family party this weekend. I used to always know.

Given a finite amount of time and energy in a day (which is vastly shortened by the number of available hours both parties are awake), I now have to consciously choose which relationships to focus on. It’s tough. This process has made me re-evaluate my friendships, accept the ones that are fading away, and value the ones that persist.

During one of our late night chats, a Seattle buddy said, “You have your true lifelong friends- like you and me- and you have friends of convenience. You live in the same city and enjoy the same activities, and that’s the extent of your relationship.” Friends of convenience aren’t bad- we all need a variety of people to be around (plus it’s fun!) But it is this class of people who I find myself not keeping in touch with now that we are no longer convenient to one another. I reassure myself that when we are reunited some day, we’ll be able to look back fondly on shared memories and be OK with taking different paths.

Prioritizing which people to focus on isn’t the only difficult thing. Maintaining a long-distance friendship can be a lot of work. A simple, “We should get the group on Skype sometime!” soon hits reality:

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This call took 2 weeks to schedule by the way.

Keeping in touch with someone abroad takes effort, so I really value those of you who make time for me during your mornings or lunch breaks 🙂 If I’ve reached out to you in the past few months, that means I want to keep you actively in my life… but I won’t be as likely to keep reaching out if I don’t receive reciprocation.

Aside from the physical distance and time difference, there’s this completely new lifestyle I’m experiencing that is hard for people back home to relate to. I’m glad my family made the trip out to Paris last month. When I want to share the small everyday things (eg. “I just had a 3 minute French conversation with that girl from the bakery with the pistachio escargots!”), they get me now. That means the world to me.

So… on feeling homesick: not yet. On being a good friend: I’m still trying to find a balance. Please be patient and send me any feedback along the way. I want to keep you all in my life, but I haven’t figured out how to yet <3

 

 

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