Posted by: Maioush | May 20, 2007

Homesickness, Culture Shock or is it BOTH?

P.S: I’m still on BREAK but “Hada Bena2an 3ala Talab El Jamaheer” LOOOOOOOOOOL :) 

Before I came to United States I thought I knew the feeling of being homesick because of previous long visits to LA during my life, in my case, I was wrong.

Being out of familiar surroundings can be incredibly disorienting and frustrating in pragmatic ways, like just not knowing where stuff is, and it can be surprisingly draining. The lack of familiarity in social situations – not understanding various subtleties and cultural references that can make communication difficult and frustrating.

For me, when I feel homesick I feel a profound sense of sadness, loneliness and separateness. I feel misunderstood, socially awkward and like I stick out like a sore thumb. I feel these emotions even though I have friends here in USA who love and care about me and who tell me that no, I’m not a social idiot. But when I’m feeling these feelings I find it impossible to believe them in fact it gave my self confidence a real blow that I’m still recovering from.

Plus, being away from family though a relief in many ways (you all know what I mean) is very painful, especially when there is an illness, special occasion or whatever and you’re stuck on the outside of it.

Homesickness, at times, has hit me very hard. More so in the first couple of years than now and I think more extreme than the average migrant as I’m highly sensitive, a bit of a wimp and came here on my own with very little social support. I’m tearing up just remembering (I don’t just have the t-shirt, I have the full ensemble with matching luggage) but I don’t think that happens to everyone.

But now and after some effort on my part, most times I feel ‘at home’. My best friend and other mates are Americans or are other expat Canucks off doing things in other parts of the globe and we can relate in being ‘expats’ though in different countries. Lately when I talk to my family and friends in USA I don’t feel I’m on the same wavelength anymore though I still get along with them.

Migration, even temporarily, forces you to grow and sometimes it hurts – but that pain it’s not necessarily a bad thing. 


  1. great post maioush!
    you can never overcome homesickness, and you’ll never know what brings memories back to the surface.

  2. as they say no pain no gain:)

  3. Come on you guys, bednash neglebha dar 3aza:)

  4. 3al waja3 ya Maioush!! I swear it is! Great Post!!

  5. Mai you said everything I felt and still feel, it’s soooo true. It is painful but not necessarily bad painful just awkward. It’s like being a teenager again trying to understand or adjust to being an adult, you know what I mean?

    Good job and I am glad you took a break from the break!

  6. I think you will never realize where “home” for you is until you go back to your original home country and miss what you are missing at your new or current home!! At the end, home is where you have a sense of belonging! No matter what.
    I visited Jaffa (Yafa), the city where my family from few years back and I had no sense of belonging there, it was just another place to visit, I guess the lack of familiar things and not knowing anyone there did not give me this feeling….I am sad for this, and I feel that I failed to have connection to my Palestinian roots!!! It is a shame!
    I do not have this feeling of belonging also when i go back to Jordan although i was born and raised there!! it just feels like another familiar place that i like to visit and spend “some” time there, but then i have the urge to leave and not choose to live there for good! My true sense of belonging is where my physical home is, in the Chicago area…i feel that i live temporarily in every place I go to, but the feeling of being “home” is where i have my familiar everything, material and tangibles stuff…i cannot explain it, my loved ones are all over the world but it does not make it home to me when I go and visit them!

  7. That’s so true maioush. Friends do minimize the feeling of homesickness, but they can’t wipe it out.

    I’m glad you’re starting to feel at home, as summer said, home is where you have a sense of belonging.

  8. I agree with summer – home is where you feel you belong. But I miss my country deeply, the people, the family, the civilization. It is hard being away from home, but, like our parents did before us, we are probably going to go back home at the end of our lives.

  9. i never felt home sick in canada untill i came to live in saskatoon away from my family and the good sized arab community we had in amman, lebanon, demascus I will feel even more homesick..home is really where your family and loved ones are and where your have your best memories…for me that place is the greater toronto where else feels like home..hubby feels the same way…he just has not realized it yet! or is still in the nile(denial)….:o)

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