Life in a Far Away Land: How to Survive Away From Your Gals and Family

Once upon a time, in a magical land called New Orleans, a gal sometimes felt sad and blue. Although living in a city paved with colorful beads, where folks freely imbibed sugary alcoholic beverages anywhere and everywhere, she felt she was missing out on fun. Her kind of fun was different. Her kind of fun was being surrounded by the people she knew best – her best friends and family.

Every life path is different, and sometimes you end up living away from your hometown and the people you love. Although I live in NOLA with my fiancé (whom I love to the ends of the earth and back), I can’t help but feel a twinge of homesickness (and yes, a bit of envy) when my mom tells me she is cooking a dinner for my family or if I see a series of Instagram photos of my longtime gal pals having a grand old time back in New York.

If you find yourself in this situation, here are some tips:

Make New Friends But Keep The Old

One is silver, and the other gold. For a while, I thought one was gold and the other doo-doo. I would plan trips home to have fun times rather than getting to know any new peers here. It was a lot easier and I could avoid awkward new-friend-dates.  I’m terrible at sealing the deal with a new potential friend. But just be brave and ask a gal for her phone number or if she wants to grab coffee or a cocktail. The only way to make new friends is to put yourself out there.

Bloom Where You’re Planted

My mom has always told me to bloom where I’m planted. I never understood the full meaning until living in a new city for an extended period. I had lived in different places in college and after graduating, but I never felt fully settled in those locations. I always viewed them as temporary. That mindset is terrible for making a place feel like home. Try having the point of view that this is your permanent residence. That way, you’ll find your favorite place to work out, you’ll get to know the shop owners that you see daily, and you’ll start to invest more in new relationships. If you have interests and hobbies, explore those in your new city. I took an acting class, a dance class, and found a place to volunteer before I felt that I had found my place.

Your Phone is Your Friend — The Actual Phone Part, Not the Twitter Parts

You’ve probably seen articles lately about social media having a depressing effect on people. If you see your family and friends smiling and laughing in Facebook and Instagram photos ever day, of course you’ll feel you’re missing out on everything great and happy. Don’t let your mind get bogged down in all that. Stay off social media if you can, and pick up the telephone and call those friends and family. As gals get older, it’s harder to keep in touch and find time to catch up. So don’t worry that you have to schedule an hour to talk to each person. Make quick phone calls during your drive to work, or while walking your dog. That way, it will become natural to check in on the people you love throughout the week, and you’ll feel much more connected.

Try Not to Get Discouraged

You may get homesick. You may feel distressed and lonely. But give yourself and your new city some time. Explore, enjoy the time you have alone to work on yourself and your interests. Take people up on their offers to go out when the opportunity arises. And in about a year, you’ll suddenly feel like you belong. Most people say that it takes a year to settle into a new place and feel at home. That may sound like a long time, but you can do it, and you’ll enjoy the crazy bumpy journey along the way.

- Summer