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Guest evacaroline

Homesickness: how long before it is not so intense?

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cheetah

Good point about overdoing the care packages, especially for the age group mentioned (18-20). We've decided to scale back on them this year. First of all they are too expensive, but mostly because, since this is the fourth year away for the holidays, we decided it's time our DS recognize that where he lives is, in fact, his "home" and he should be making do with what he can find around him. Time them around times that you think might be rough. For our DS, it's Thanksgiving more so than Christmas, since it's a US holiday and there are so few US citizens around him.

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swanchat

I too agree about the care packages. They are way too expensive to send overseas and if sent more frequently stateside, the costs do mount. Even when dd was younger, we sent food at her request and then it was mostly holiday themed. (A can of pumpkin, corn bread mix). Her grandparents sent the junk food more frequently and we ended up throwing away a lot of food when she moved. The stuffed animals now reside back here with me although I am busy trying to find them new homes :thumbsup: Thanksgiving is really hard for our dd too. At school there were a few other Americans to celebrate with; not so at her new company.

 

Lovemydancers,

So glad to know that someone else brings a skype person into the family room to watch football :( and Happy Birthday to your dd!!

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lovemydancers
Lovemydancers,

So glad to know that someone else brings a skype person into the family room to watch football :( and Happy Birthday to your dd!!

 

Oh yeah, we're a cheering/yelling at the TV/whaddayamean-he-was-out-of-bounds all-female (including the cat) football family. :thumbsup: And yes, I feel old but proud today.

 

My point about the care packages was not only about the cost, but moreso about the independence. Once in a great while, I'll send her something. But I think she likes it that she doesn't "need" me to send things like 60-second rice and granola bars; the kinds of things I sent to her SIs. She grocery shops just fine herself and likes it that way, thank you very much.

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LovesLabor

Thanks for the cyber hug, Swanchat! Great tips from everyone. Is there a "Residential/Away from Home" group on this forum to put all this great advice in one place?

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Guest evacaroline

Thanks to all for the kind words, the cyberhugs, and the suggestions. I knew there would be others out there with the same or similar experiences, but hearing from you is so helpful. Your responses have made me realize that while I thought I was posting because I was concerned about how my daughter was coping, my own feelings (missing her so much) were equally behind the impulse to initiate this conversation.

 

My daughter is very level-headed and I think her desire to explore options for next year is probably just a realistic and pragmatic way to deal with uncertainty. I don't think it conflicts at all with being open to the current situation and committed to making the most of it and seeing where that will lead.

 

I won't hesitate to pose questions again; this is such a wonderful forum.

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cheetah

lovemydancers - that was my point about the care packages, too. Decreasing the number sent helps decrease our own strings, since DS is more than willing to sever them completely and is at the point where he can - and should - be finding alternatives to what he is used to. When he does get the packages they are that much more special. And like swanchat, I now know that a lot of junk I sent was never used or eaten. It was an expensive way of making myself still feel part of his life :)

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moddydave

LovesLabor - I think a "Residential/Away from Home" group is a very good idea. What do others think? Has it already been done?

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Mel Johnson

Not only has it been done, you're here!

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celb

I have found these posts very comforting.My 11 year old DD has just started at a fulltime residential vocational ballet school ( 4 hours from home) 6 days ago and tonight we had the first tears :ermm: .Even although it's an expected experience it's still hard to deal with on the end of a phone as a parent where one just wants to make it all better. It's hard not to feel helpless. I know she is very tired having had a busy and exciting week .All suggestions gratefully received. I have tried to stay positive on the phone she has had 3 care packages already - mainly due to forgotten items and has also "spoken" to the dog. I know she is in a great school with a supportive and experienced roommate and house parents and she has several pre-existing friends at the school -all which helps but I feel the more resources the better.

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Clara 76

Aw!!!! Big cyber hugs to you!!!! And welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers!!!!!

 

It's a really tough situation, and all you can do is be there for her, listen to her, and guage her moods and personality to be sure it remains a good situation for her. Chances are, it will, but even if it's the most elite ballet school in the world, it may or may not be a good fit for her for the entire rest of her training. Or it could be. I would leave the options open for your dd, so that she feels her family will not be disappointed in her should she ever feel that she is either not yet ready, or won't ever be ready for this experience.

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napnap

We had a very rough patch this year. Daughter is 15 away for first time. Loves, loves, loves everything about ballet school, but we had tears and longing for pets and her bed, home cooked food, etc... We have found skyping (with the pets as well) to be helpful and a great lift to her spirits. We schedule them on Sunday mornings and it gets us both through -- (mom/dad as well). I just sent her a box of her favorite mandarin oranges and a piece of Godiva chocolate, with a countdown of days till home. She'll be temporarily distracted from homesickness. ;) Stay positive and supportive in all correspondence! This is so important, as I learned from my son who is a U.S. Marine away serving his country.

 

I pray it gets better!

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swanchat

Big cyberhugs to all. DD's first year away was her hardest. She was able to come home during her half-term and term breaks and that helped too. By her second year, she didn't seem to need to come home as much and by her third and final year, she wasn't able to come home because of performing responsibilities and didn't miss the trips home at all. I think it becomes easier because they build networks of friends, get used to being more independent, become familiar with the new school and city/country and because they become busier. It's hard to be homesick when you are busy. Weekends were especially hard that first year away; mainly because it was free time. Helping provide structure during the free time was a help. Structure included church on Sunday, homework, laundry and if homework was completed, an outing to the cinema, shopping, something fun.

 

Now, at 19, in her first year as a professional, she's doesn't need a trip home to loom in the future to get through her days. She loves her job and her life. She was able to come home for Christmas (shocking) and loved being home but was ready to get back to her life. She's coming home for the summer break and she's already said that we need to make sure to schedule quiet time ( that's code for too much togetherness and we get on each other's nerves). There is so much to be done while she's home that it's going to be hectic. You will find that doctor/dentist appointments, working on a driver's license, taking a summer course, visits with friends and family, fitness maintenance and yep, ballet class will keep the schedule full.

 

Napnap, thank your son for his service and thanks to your family for your sacrifices too. I hope he stays safe.

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Natalma

Celb, my heart goes out to you! My daughter left home in September and it's been difficult for all of us as she is very far away. She is now 18 so I can only imagine how hard it is with a child who is eleven. Your daughter must be very brave and very determined!

 

Despite my daughter's "advanced" age, she struggled (and still does) a lot with homesickness during the periods of free time. She loves the program and when she is in class she is happy and this has been the saving grace and the reason to continue to struggle. A few students who were not happy have left because, for them, the program was not a good fit. We also agreed, before she left, that she would make a commitment to stay for the full year. (Of course, we would not have adhered to that if there had been a serious issue with the program or the situation she was in; it was really just to say that homesickness or some disappointments would not be a sufficient cause.) I'm sure I wouldn't have asked that of an eleven-year old, though. Because it was a very large commitment for us financially and otherwise, and because my daughter tends to agonize over things and question her own decisions sometimes, it was important in our case to agree that the decision could not be revisited every time she was upset or lonely. I think that was actually helpful to her since it enabled her to focus on how to make things work. Again, this is probably more relevant for older students.

 

My daughter has been home three times to visit. I was unsure, at first, whether visits home would be a good thing (not to mention unsure if I could afford the cost!) but our experience has been that it helped a great deal. It was as if she went back each time nourished by the comforts of home and the love of family and friends and she could draw on that.

 

I have read all the posts in this thread many times since last fall and taken much comfort from them. There is so much wisdom and support here from others who have gone before!

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Natalma

So, having posted the original question (I was then "evacaroline"), I thought I would now post what has turned out to be the answer in my DD's case - about eight months! She will be home in a couple of days, is sad to leave, and looks forward to going back in September. The last two months, we heard from her much less often and I sensed that sometimes she was keeping in touch not so much because she felt the need, but because she knew we appreciated it.

 

It is so hard when your child is feeling sad to accept the inevitability of such feelings in life. It is much easier for me, today, knowing that she is happy now, to look back and see how much she has gained, knowing that she had the strength to get through the tough times. We tend to place so much emphasis on feelings of happiness. When I think about anything I've done that might be considered an accomplishment, whether in my personal or professional life, nothing of any significance was accomplished without some pain and suffering along the way. Not that dancers don't all know that!

 

I suppose with a younger child, the hard part is knowing whether your child just needs your support to help them draw on their own strengths to get through (which is how I saw my role given that my daughter is old enough to make her own decisions), or whether they need you to intervene in some other way. Hats off to the parents who have faced that question.

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iceberg*lover

My 14 year old daughter has been away for 2 months now, and I'm kind of hurt that she hasn't been really homesick at all! The only time there have been tears is when she missed her bus after a long day and had to wait half an hour for another one, and those were tears of frustration and tiredness. (There is no residence program where she is so she is living with a billet family)

 

She doesn't seem to miss us much at all, she is so enthusiastic about her new life and ballet studies, and already talking about "next year" I am so not ready to think about another year of this!

 

So what does it mean when there is very little homesickness? She is home for a long weekend right now (I'm so happy) and really all she talks about is ballet and showing me what she's doing in class. I don't mind and i love it but she doesn't seem to miss her life here!

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