Friday, February 18, 2011

The Overseas Mom: Times of Loneliness

Today is a lonely day for me. I miss my family. I miss my friends back in America. I miss having conversations with new people when I am out and about.

Living overseas can be at times a rollercoaster of emotions. And I am sure there are many of you who live overseas currently who have felt that exact same way. Sure, you love this country, this place you call home at the moment, but there are times when living in another culture can be so very lonely.

And making friends is not easy when living in another country. Some places are friendlier to live than others but you will always have that aggravating thing called language barrier to deal with. I mean how far can a conversation go when you know so few words?

I have struggled with this when I spend time at the local children's center with Noah. Just last week a very nice Japanese woman with a child about Noah's age was trying to communicate with me. I wanted so badly to hear her story, to know about her little girl and to start a friendship. But after about 10 minutes of us struggling to answer basic questions we say our goodbyes and continue playing with our children. I continued in my lonely state because there wasn't much else we could do.

And then there is that realization that you have left your group of close friends back home who speak the same language as you and have similar life situations as you. I have days where it is so hard not to want to attend the Women's Night out at my church back in Texas or just visit a good friend who I haven't seen in months.

So, what can we do when we get lonely? Here are a few things I have done in Japan that have helped me a lot:

*Take the opportunity to grow spiritually- I know many times since I have moved to Japan and have been lonely it has been a sweet time with the Lord. I have felt closer to Him then I have any other time in my life. Take time to pray to Him. He is always there.

*Keep learning the language of the country your living in- I know when I have had these moments of frustration when speaking to other moms around me in Japanese it has pushed me to continue my studies of the Japanese language. So maybe next time I will be able to add one more sentence to the conversation.

*Keep in touch with close friends back home- You might not be able to sit in a living room and play a game together like you used to but there are many ways you can stay in touch with friends. Make Skype dates, keep up on facebook. Talk to them about your troubles and your accomplishments. Let them know how they can pray for you. Keep those connections strong so when loneliness sets in you know just who to call back home.

*Connect with any other moms in your area from America- I have two other moms here in Nagoya who I am so blessed to have in my life. It would not be the same without them. I know some of you are not close to any other moms in your area but those of you who are blessed to have that company you should start a new support group. It is amazing how many times I have felt lonely and have been able to call up my friend down the street and after spending and afternoon with her life doesn't seem so bad.

Well, I hope these have given you a few ideas. What other ideas have you come up with?

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