As you may or may not know, in 2011 I moved to Denmark. The trip was meant to last a year, but unfortunately due to the health of a close family member, I came home early. But I had packed up with the intentions of one year.
Of course, one of the biggest worries with moving abroad is the homesickness. Luckily, I was able to avoid a lot of that on my journey, and a big part of it came down to packing! So I thought it could be helpful to write a post on how to pack for a move abroad! (Hence the title).
Mom and I saying goodbye at Toronto Airport.
First of all, I found that the way I packed made things very organized and smooth once I arrived in Denmark. Through Icelandair, I was able to bring two large suitcases with me. Since I was going for a year, I had to pack for each season and weather condition. To fit everything in my bags, since sweaters and sweatpants especially can be quite bulky, I got some vacuum bags and packed and sucked the air out with my vacuum. This allowed room for other important things.
By the time I got to my new home in Denmark, I was very tired and overwhelmed by the experience and the site seeing we did right after my landing and it was getting late. Once I got into the home and saw my bedroom waiting for me, that’s when the reality of the situation hit me and I felt very sad. The first thing I did was skype my mom. Then after since it was late, I just wanted to go to bed. This is where it was wonderful how organized I had packed because I wasn’t making a mess but could access what I needed in the moment. The next day when I began to unpack, it was quick and effortless to unpack as everything was neatly staying together in the bags.
My cozy bedroom in Denmark (To the left, my stuffed dog Rudy- childhood BFF)
Another asset in helping with homesickness for me, was having a few select stuffed animals from childhood. These helped me sleep at night. They were familiar and smelt like home. I also had a lot of pictures with me because pictures bring me back into the moment they were taken.
Finally, what helped my homesickness the most………….
As Time Goes By. This is a British tv series that I have watched a lot over the years and I would watch it every night on my computer before bed. It is humorous and something I am very used to, so it raised my spirits and kept my mind distracted at night which I found to be the toughest time. Also waking up was hard so you just get up and start your day quickly. Luckily for me, my homesickness was only really present in the first week. I had some amazing friends to be with when I was there and was just so grateful for the experience.
Other things that helped me keep connected to home were: watching the tv show Fraser at 4pm when I had the time, and having the app whatsapp was BEAUTIFUL! It was nice being able to keep up with my friends and mom as I would typically, and skype was also wonderful when I wanted to talk with my Mom and then-boyfriend who I missed very deeply.
At one point my mom also sent me a care package!! I was so thrilled for normal floss! It’s so strange, but I didn’t like the kind I could find in Denmark. Also, the excitement over the smarties…. The excitement over everything familiar. I was so thankful for this package 🙂
If any of you are planning on going on an extended trip or are moving anywhere out of your comfort zone, I hope this post was able to help give some ideas on ways to alleviate your homesickness. After all, when you’re exploring your new and exciting surroundings, who has the time to be feeling sad? Do your best to feel grateful for the opportunity at your door!