Crossing Mountains serves to create a community and discussion between people who have moved from their homes and seek advice on how to cope with everyday and major hurdles they may face.
Lately, I’ve been feeling a bit down. The holidays are probably somewhat at fault; Thanksgiving just passed and with December beginning, Christmas, my birthday, and New Year’s will all come and go with more missed family gatherings. Other reasons may be that I’m on that downwards slope on that culture shock chart because of little frustrations that have been building up after a while.
This Thanksgiving was the first family get together I’ve ever missed. I was lucky enough to have gone to college 30 minutes from my hometown, so I was always able to go home and spend time with my family during the holidays and in between. My dad sent me a video of my family members saying hello to me and which made me happy and sad at the same time. I wanted to be there with them, eating turkey, and playing with my cousins. I felt bad, for not being there. I felt bad for taking our previous family gatherings for granted. I sometimes thought: I wish we had a bigger family so our gatherings wouldn’t be as quiet or I wish we did this and that… Why didn’t I just completely enjoy our gatherings for that they were? Don’t get me wrong, I always loved being with my family, but those thoughts were in the back of my mind. Now that I’m not with them, I want to go back to those quiet family gatherings. It was tough, not having Thanksgiving, but it did open my eyes to some things I need to change about my thoughts. I won’t ever take my family gatherings for granted ever again. Everyone’s families are different. Each family has something special. I didn’t cope with a Thanksgiving by myself very well (I sat under my kotatsu and watched dramas), but I’m glad that I learned to be more appreciative of my family.
I’ve also been feeling exhausted lately. I’m not sure why… maybe I’m getting burned out from work or from just living in another country, but I’m about ready to go on a vacation and rest. I have three more weeks until winter vacation, so I need to finish these weeks off strong. I’m excited for my trip to Seoul. My vacation means food, shopping, kpop, and more food. I miss Seoul and I can’t wait to go back. Then after I get back, Mark will arrive in Japan on the first day of the new year! What a great way to start 2014. I can’t wait to show him around and be able to go back to how it was before I left (lots of cutesy barf worthy moments, eating new food, cooking together, walking around together, and the list goes on and on), but experiencing it in another country.
But the thought of having to go through three big events without my family by my side, celebrating without me, is something I will have to be strong and push through. I’m glad that I will be spending Christmas and my birthday with some friends in an awesome city, but it still doesn’t compare to opening presents with your family. I will also be doing the countdown by myself… Oh well, I will celebrate Mallory-style (lots of dessert and dancing around)! Actually that would be a great time to Skype with my parents. Bring in the New Year with them.
Let’s hear from you! A lot of you have gone through more holidays away from your families than I have, I would love to hear how you deal with these times: How do you cope when you’re thousands of miles away from your loved ones during the holidays? How do you find energy and motivation to keep going when you’re culturally fatigued?