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Beetlebum I Need Your Help!!
choke Posted: Sat Jan 14 12:44:26 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Hello. I was going to post this in the old thread but I worried you wouldn't find it so I had to make it as obvious as possible.

You said a long time ago I could talk to you if I had a worry about my exchange (actually I'm not sure if you actually did say that, I have some memory of it but I may have just made it up to make myself feel better)

In the homesickness thread you said you pretended your parents had died.. My question is: Did that help?
I feel like I keep in such obsessive contact with my friends and family online that it's really hurting my american relationships, slowing down my exchange, and probably even annoying the people back home too. I feel like a day without contact is too long but when I went away for a week I was really relaxed and able to concentrate on americans more. (Although that may just have been the sunny weather because cold makes me gross)

But I worry that if I do slow down the contact, I'll get back and wont know anyone or they wont know me anymore and it'll be really awkward and hopeless.

So I'm not really sure what I'm asking here, except do you think it's a good idea to stop contacting home so much and HOW do I go about it because I have ABSOLUTELY no self control.

beetlebum Posted: Sun Jan 15 09:11:16 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Woah! Take it easy. Grin. You'll be alllllright. O'course I'd be glad to try and help. My msn is: if you want to add me. And it's meghanyo for AIM.

I don't think imagining everyone dead is the best way to go about it, truthfully. But! If you are talking to everyone at home all of the time, that is probably really getting in the way of your American relationships, and also taking up time that could spend doing things that are probably more engaging and fun. Like you said.

So, at least you recognize that you are having issues on that side of the pond. I would recommend really cutting down internet activity. ALOT. Self-control is hard, I know, but you may even want to talk to your host family about helping you regulate your internet time. The more you speak with friends and family back home, the less you immerse yourself in American culture, and frankly, the less you make friends. I'd even recommend only talking with your family once a week. I know that sounds really hard, but there's nothing that will happen over the course of a week that you must know about, ya know? Just remind yourself that you're halfway through your exchange, and you still don't feel like you're American relationships are super-strong yet. (Although it always takes time, so it's not like you should rush anything.)

Anyway, it sounds like you know what you *need* to do, but you aren't doing it out of fear that you won't know people when you get home.

That's utter bollocks! Big grin. Your family will always love you, and it sounds as though you have spectacular friends back home. I don't want to worry you, but when you get home, you will have missed an entire year of Kiwi world. And no matter how much you talk to them about the US, they won't get it, and most exchange programs tell you that your friends won't want to hear about it, because it isn't something they can relate to. If anything, that should set you free-- while the idea that they won't (and you won't) necessarily be able to relate to things with each otehr, hopefully you're friendships are stronger than that. You may find eventually that some aren't, but that's okay.

Also, and not to sound like some annoying mother or older sister (<- my little sister accuses me of sounding like both sometimes), but the whole point of your exchange *is* to change and grow outside of your comfort zone, which has to be done, well, outside of your comfort zone (i.e. talking to New Zealand friends all the time). Also, there's no helping the fact that *everyone* will change over the course of this year, but that you will probably change a little more than your friends back home. You'll probably mellow out more, find yourself a bit more quickly than others your age, and have the knowledge that you survived this experience. Hopefully, though, instead of "survive", you'll want to use the term "enjoyed." So some of that is unavoidable, Choke. I don't mean to make you sad about it, but when you get home, you will go through some awkward situations with friends. Not because they love you less, but because you'll have become someone that they don't entirely know yet. That part just takes time. My point is: no matter how much you talk to them, you cannot prepare them for how much you'll change, so to keep doing so in an attempt to lessen awkwardness later isn't the best strategy. And if you talk to them so much that you don't change and grow, then you've missed the point of the exchange entirely. One of my best American friends in France (doing the same exchange as I was, except she was in the south of France so we only spoke once a week or so) spoke with her mother and friends every day, and in the end, my French was a million times better than hers. At the end she panicked because she realized what she had missed and there was no going back and redoing it.

Truthfully, I was really homesick last term. A good friend died over the summer and I was by myself, which made grieving really hard and so I just wanted to be home. Luckily I have enough English friends who poke me to go out and have fun. But I realized over Christmas break that I needed to get involved in more things. I think that you should try that, too. There have got to be a ton of things at your school, and a million things in Chicago, that you can do to fill up the time otherwise spent thinking about home. As bad as that sounds, you won't get over homesickness until you *make* yourself have fun. At first it requires effort, but then after awhile you'll truly enjoy it. I don't know what you're interested in, but I'm sure your host family would be willing to help you out, especially if you admit to them that you haven't been very good about immersing yourself in the amazing American culture that surrounds you. (Flattery is always the best policy. ;o) )

Finally, is there another exchange student you could speak with about it-- another Kiwi living elsewhere that you could speak with? Just a thought. Support is always good.

Okay, sorry this was so wordy... it's frustrating to know *exactly* how you feel and to not be able to fix it!

I'm online often enough, and I'm always around if you want to post something else or drop me an email. And truthfully, it's kinda nice to talk to someone about exchange stuff, since hardly anyone does it and it was so bloody hard sometimes. :D

Bon courage, my friend, and let me know how it goes. Megxx

beetlebum Posted: Sun Jan 15 09:14:11 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  PS- sorry for the typos.

ifihadahif Posted: Sun Jan 15 09:51:31 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Beetlebum, you're an angel !

addi Posted: Sun Jan 15 10:08:17 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I don't think you could have paid for any better advice, Choke. She's wise (don't let it go to your head, meg) and she's experienced your difficulties.

An observation, minus any helpful advice:
You chose to go through this at a younger age. Beetlebum went overseas when she was a bit older, and that may seem insignificant but a few years under your belt to mature, separate, and become a little more confident and independant can make a big difference on how a person handles the experience. That's not meant to belittle you, choke...just a statement of fact. You've always struck me as someone wise for your age.
I suggest you give her advice a try. It could end up making a big difference in the remainder of your stay here. I hope that years from now you can end up looking back on your time here and see that it was a very positive and growing time in your life.

beetlebum Posted: Sun Jan 15 10:46:37 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  ifihadahif said:
>Beetlebum, you're an angel !

Aww shucks. Thanks. :D

jennemmer Posted: Sun Jan 15 11:31:55 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Hey Choke,

I've recently arrived back in the Chicago area. If you're interested we should meet up for Cheesecake or something ;). (My MSN is or you can use the e-mail in my profile)

addi Posted: Sun Jan 15 12:04:00 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Don't do it, choke! It's a trap. The second you inadverdantly say something that ticks Jenn off she'll haul off and kick you in the balls (even if you don't have any).
Canadian woman are tempermental like that.

: )

Posted: Sun Jan 15 12:34:43 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  jennemmer said:
>Hey Choke,
>I've recently arrived back in the Chicago area. If you're interested we should meet up for Cheesecake or something

If she tells you to meet up anywhere but the bottom of the John Hancock tower, then she's planning on kidnapping you :)

choke Posted: Sun Jan 15 13:35:45 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Wow. Thanks heaps everyone. Especially Beetlebum :) Yesterday I noticed an immediate change when I hungout with my american friends, although that just may have been because I was trying to avoid studying. I think I have you added already Jenn, and I would love to meet up for cheesecake :D but I can't talk to you till after finals because I'll never study for them ever. And please don't kidnap me :) So I will try follow your advice Beetlebum, and I will add you to my MSN although usually when I try adding Yahoo people they don't add so you may have to add me I'm But don't talk to me or let me talk to you until after finals because I haven't even opened my books yet and I know I never ever will if I don't get offline right this second. So I'll prolly reply to this thread more detailed later.

mat_j Posted: Thu Jan 19 13:07:39 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Mat_j expresses his appreciation towards Bettlebum in a similar fashion!

mat_j Posted: Thu Jan 19 13:09:03 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Awww heck jus' come 'ere and gimme a hug, i got something in my eye fo' sure

addi Posted: Thu Jan 19 14:07:41 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  mat_j said:
>Awww heck jus' come 'ere and gimme a hug, i got something in my eye fo' sure

if she's indisposed I'll do it

: )

beetlebum Posted: Thu Jan 19 15:06:44 2006 Post | Quote in Reply  
  addi said:
>mat_j said:
>>Awww heck jus' come 'ere and gimme a hug, i got something in my eye fo' sure
>if she's indisposed I'll do it
>: )

Step aside, sir. This is my hug! Big grin. Although I'm sure that Mat_j has enough hugs in 'im to go around. (Haha, the very idea of that makes me laugh for some reason.)


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