Your First Visit Home to the UK
Do not underestimate the power of the emotions you will feel as your arrange your first trip back to the UK after starting your new life in France.
Even if you are thoroughly enjoying your new adventure, there is something about making plans – booking flights, arranging to meet up with family and friends – that can make you feel very far from home.In order to maximise your enjoyment and minimise your homesickness, it is worth trying to understand why you feel as you do and what you can do to put it all into perspective. This will depend on the reason for your first trip home. If you are going back to the UK for a happy reason – a party, new baby or Christmas, for example, then your reactions and emotions are likely to be different than if you are going back for a sad reason, such as an illness or funeral.
Happy OccasionIf your first visit back to the UK coincides with a happy event, then you may feel that you have left behind a fun, exciting community that you are struggling to feel a part of in your new life. It can remind you of what you miss about the UK and all the good bits of your life before the big move. Do not forget that days like these do not happen all the time anyway, whether you were living in the UK or not and low cost airline and train offers mean that you are likely to be able to attend most important events.
As you have some notice before you return, make sure you are prepared. Take plenty of photos of your new home and have a small stash of local treats as presents. Do be aware of the current baggage allowances for low cost airlines, though, especially if you are only planning to take hand luggage. Small, light gifts such as local chocolates or soaps are far better than liquid products that can be heavy and may be confiscated.
Sad OccasionIf your first visit back to the UK has a sad reason, you will have an additional emotional reaction to deal with. On a practical level, this may also correspond with having to pay for more expensive flights as you will not have had the same notice to be able to book a good deal. Such issues can make you feel very far from home. Try to remember that you are taking on a big challenge with your new life in France and be kind to yourself. Keep in regular contact with your family by phone and email and offer support in whichever way you can.
However, try not to be a burden on your family. They will have enough to deal with without having to give constant updates to you on the phone. Keep calls short and offer practical help – perhaps you could arrange for a supermarket delivery on line, rather than the beautiful but not entirely helpful bunch of flowers.