Gilder and Katie teach overseas. They talk about what they miss from their home countries of Venezuela and England.
Aimee: So Gilder, we’re both teachers, and we both live and work abroad, right, from our home countries.
Aimee: I’m from Scotland and you’re from Venezuela. So, I’m sure we both have to deal with homesickness because we’re so far from our home. How do you deal with home sickness?
Gilder: It’s very difficult because as you said I’m so far from my country.
Gilder: And like special seasons like Christmas or during the Holy Week – it is something that we celebrate a lot, I feel really homesick especially because of the food we have.
Gilder: Yeah, a particular food and also meeting with your friends, hanging out with them, going to the beach. So all those things that I don’t have here is, – yeah, it really makes feel homesick. But one thing I do is I always try to go for things in the country where I’m living. So what do the locals do? Is there any interesting – and it’s a sort of like an adventure because you’re doing something new so you’re kind of replacing something that you used to do by something new. So in a way, it’s nice dealing with homesickness.
Gilder: What about you?
Aimee: Well, that’s kind of what I was going to say. You said replacing, I was going to say just distract yourself with other activities. Obviously, we’ve met new people living here and, you know, I’ve made some new and wonderful friends. And it’s not the same as your life back home but it’s a good distraction, I think. You mentioned activities, so yeah, just exploring the new culture that we’re in.
And if feeling homesickness in regards to food, you know, there’s a lot of delicious foods here in Japan. Delicious foods, so we can distract our needs, I guess.
Gilder: Yeah. That’s one of the good things of being in Japan is the fact that you get to know people from all over the world and try so many different things. So yeah, it’s a distraction. It’s a good distraction. Yeah.
Aimee: One, I guess, one strategy I have as well for homesickness is whenever someone comes to visit, which is very rare but it does happen, I send them a list of things that they can fill their suitcase with to bring over for me. Foods from home and just tea bags from the local supermarket and, you know, some cosmetics or toiletries that I cannot buy here, particular brands that I like. And it’s little things like that that help me, I think, deal with not having them. Basically, having them helps me deal with not having them.
Gilder: I also do that sometimes like my family try to visit me once a year so their suitcase packed of stuff Venezuela, which is very important to me. And also I try to find those supermarkets from South America like Brazilian supermarkets…
Aimee: Right. Yeah.
Gilder: Or sometimes the Filipino supermarkets, they have stuff that we have in Venezuela, so yeah, it’s very nice.
Aimee: I actually used to live out in a different part of Japan where there was quite a large Brazilian population, and there were many like Brazilian convenient store. Wonderful breads, the meat was good, too. Yeah, lots of really good products. So I guess a shop like that would help you in particular.
Gilder: Yes, I guess Brazilians, they don’t have the same issue that we have with homesickness because they can get a lot of stuff from Brazil here in Japan.
Aimee: That’s true. Yeah. Well, of course, you know, there are international stores around. I’m lucky enough to – even in a small city like this, I have an international store that’s reasonably close. So there are a few products that you can – I feel happy about, I guess. Maybe I wouldn’t even buy them at home but when I see them in the shop here, I feel like, oh I can’t get other things so I’m going to buy these biscuits.
Gilder: Likewise, something that you can read.
Aimee: Yeah. Well, yeah, that too. Just peel the language stick off the top and read the English below.
Aimee: Yeah. There are different ways to cope with it, I think.