How does it feel being a foreigner and away from home? How does it feel being all alone in a country where you don’t have anyone to go home to or fall back on? It’s cold in the UK, don’t you miss the sunshine at home? Wow, you must be so brave because I would never been able to handle it. Why?
Anyone who’s away from home studying or working in the UK surely has been asked these questions at least once before. What? No? (you never talk to strangers before is it?). Well, I know I have. The other day, one of my colleagues, a student from China fell ill. She cried and went straight home from work. Then the next day at work, she heard the song “Tung Hua” by Guang Liang (I shall not be held responsible for the wrong spellings of Chinese pinyin) and she got emotional and secretly wiped her tears away.
You must be thinking,”Who the hell wants to hire an ’emo train wreck’ to work!! How f***ing depressing is that?!” Being away from home can never be easy. I can totally relate to that feeling. Plus, she’s only been here for six months max.
Angry and Sulking. For me, it’s been two and a half years now and I can safely say, I’m still not used to it. I miss home when I’m ill. I miss home when I’m angry. I miss home on my birthday. I miss home on their birthdays. Sometimes I miss home so much, I sulk and punch my KFC. I wanna go home. I hate the weather. I hate not being able to wear heels and short shorts all year round. But….who am I to complain? I’ve gone home 3 times in the course of 9 months. Is that enough? No. It can never be.
SO, THE QUESTION IS, “HOW CAN IT GET EASIER?” Distractions.
Okay, 10 ways to distract yourself.
# 1 Make sure you have a perfectly working internet in your house.
Without it, I’m not sure we can go through the 10 best distractions.
#2 Be obsessed.
Not with yourself but with TV Shows. Now, I’m not promoting something illegal here but come on, don’t pretend like you’ve never streamed movies or TV shows before. The internet connection is so much better in UK, why waste the memory in your hard drive to download! Plus websites like www.megavideo.com have loads of great stuff and latest TV Shows to watch and it’s legal! (just need to pay a small fees each month if you can’t stand the whole 72 mins then wait for 54 minutes shit – which is free!) I finished 3 seasons of Heroes, 2 seasons of Gossip Girl, 3 seasons of Keeping up with the Kardashians and 1 season of Kitchen Nightmares. No life? Eh, when you don’t have family obligations, you have all the time in the world to do stuff you like okay.
#3 Start a Blog?
Well, it worked for me. Recording each and every eventful stuff that happened throughout your time here. Why not? My friends used to tell me how annoying I am for taking pictures so obsessively blah blah blah. Then one year later when I showed them the pictures, most of them barely remember that it even happened! Also, when you’re reading your own archives from the past, it will make you laugh and see how much you’ve grown up! For me it’s like a paranoia. What if one day I lose my memory and cannot remember who I am. Then, I’ll have my blog to remind me who I was and retrieve some memories that has been recorded. Good and bad stuff! I’ve come a long way pals!
#4 Continue your obsessions.
Like if you’ve always been obsessed with Coca-cola bottles/cans or something along that lines then continue it (dude, I really know someone who collects them okay. I didn’t just make that up.). For me it’s shoes. What you see here in some of my pictures, is just half the collection I have. I still have another half in my old house and more in Malaysia. I don’t see why one shouldn’t continue what they love. Don’t give me the whole when-i-need-to-move-back-what-am-i-gonna-do shit. Shipping is not that expensive. Really. Unless of course, you travel home enough to bring some back every time. *ahem *
#5 Make your current living place more homely.
Put pictures of people you love on your walls. Be it a boy band, the hot Twilight dude or your family. Just putting them up will make you feel more like home. Decorate your room with nice duvets and bed sheets in your favourite colour. I love kitchen appliances so for me a new oven or food steamer is all I need to feel more like home. And that leads to #6.
#6 Learn how to cook.
I know so many people who didn’t know how to cook before they came to the UK and eventually picked up cooking.
Cooking is fun. I love to cook. Washing is another topic altogether though. That being said, I’ve learnt how to Roast Char Siew and cook Chicken Rendang from scratch all by myself. It’s probably the most rewarding thing ever, especially when you get complimented for it!
#7 Invest in a Gadget.
A PsP or Nintendo would be a good investment. And games aren’t that expensive anyway, especially when shops like Game sell second hand games as well. Hello, second hand games are not like second hand shoes. A game is a game. I know not many people like the Sims Castaway. Most people gave up in the first hour figuring it out. I love games like that. I love any Sims games. I managed to reach the 3rd island and my f***ing battery died. Yes, I didn’t save it. Another FML moments.
#8 Travel Europe.
Come on now, you know the rates of GBP is dropping faster than you spell E-X-P-E-N-S-I-V-E. It’s the best time to see Europe! Unlucky for me, I’ve only seen Paris and some parts of Spain. FML again that I have to postpone my 5-Countries-Cruise till July cos of work commitments. But I must say, Paris and Spain was worth it. Happy Times with love baby!
#9 Recreate yourself.
Try things you’ve always wanted to. Here, I get to wear whatever I want (friends know I have weird taste) without worrying that I’ll be judged walking through town. If I want to wear the polka dot tights, I’ll do it. If I want to wear that big flower on my head, I’ll do it (well, that’s not my sort of thing. It’s more like my best friend’s cup of tea). It’s the best time to learn how to feel comfortable in your own skin. After one year of doing it, you’ll feel like a better version of yourself. I promise.
#10 Get a part-time job.
I think getting a part-time job was probably the best thing I’ve ever done for my life. I get to meet more people and learn more about the culture here. Some great and not so great ones. But sometimes, I believe that it’s all fate. You’ll not only learn about working skills but you’ll also learn about life. About people. I can never believe in a thousand years that people can be so horrific but when you have met them, it’s like you’re living in one of those TVB dramas. OMG. I hate it but hey this is life, it’s bound to happen. I reckon, better now than later right?
Okay, phew, sitting through the 10 best distractions probably did its part in distracting you for a good 10 minutes of your another 9 dreadful months here.
Whether it works for you or not, there’s no guarantee. But I’m sure you get the drift right?
You know, be creative and come up with your own shit.
Anyways, before I finish off this article, I just got an email confirming my flight back to Malaysia in two weeks time. Only to celebrate my mum’s birthday. Short short trip.
So KFC won’t be punched this time. (It might be now, because at the time of this going live, the Volcanic ash has restricted flying in UK airspace)