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Derin's Mom

Struggling with homesickness

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katesy2

Not unlike GradefulMom, I moved to Paris as a 22 year-old financial analyst and also found the language and cultural barriers very challenging.  Here are some additional thoughts for you:  

1) Make sure your daughter understands that the situation she is in is very very difficult, and it would be an incredible challenge for anyone.  In other words, she should try not feel any personal weakness or lack of confidence from the struggle. Big challenge means tremendous learning and growth.  Along those lines, I heard David Halberg's autobiography discusses how hard his year training in Paris was - maybe that's worth checking out?  

2) Consider having her focus on getting through just one academic year (v. the rest of school, life, etc.) and treating the experience as a year abroad, once in a lifetime experience.  I'd have her make a bucket list of everything she would like to see and do in Paris and France during this year.  This will give her much to look forward to and will keep her busy when there is downtime, and it will also help her feel more connected with her new home. Is she on Instagram?  That would be a fun way for her to chronicle all her sightseeing and new experiences for friends and family back home, as well as new friends she meets in Paris. 

3) Are there any parent connections you can make with expats in Paris?  When I moved to Europe, I joined my college alumni association and a few other groups aimed at American expats, and that was a great way to meet people and get advice on how to assimilate.  Maybe you could join such a group on her behalf in order to see if there are expat families with kids your daughter's age she could connect with.  Expat communities are really wonderful, and expat kids are always looking to make more friends and have connections to home.

Best of luck to your daughter and to you.  I'm sure it will end up being an amazing time in the end!

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Derin's Mom

I want to address you all in one post.

Thank you very much for the support. So many concrete advices and suggestions, so many emotional support. I listed them all and act on them.

Her room is very cosy and we made it home as much as possible on the first day. Many pictures, her favorites stuffy toys, very handy kitchenette and bathroom, books from home etc etc. She is happy with her space as she says.

For language, I trust her to gather it very soon, she is fortunate that she is talented in language. Everyone speaks French around her so I think it is only a matter of time. Her uncle and his family is a good support in academic issues as well; maths, history etc.

This is her 3rd week, and I guess things will be more settled.

One thing she mentioned yesterday stroke me. I was avoiding to talk about our daily life and how we cope up without her here, what we do etc but she suddenly said; "if you lose a beloved one, what do you do mom, do you avoid talking about her/him or cherish her with good memories and talk about them? I need to feel that we are connected." She is only 14 and suddenly she seemed so grown up. So, I said yes, if you want it that way I will definitely tell more about us.

 

PS: and yes to a question, I am from Turkey.

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mom2

What a mature soul she is!  Sounds like she's going to do just fine.  

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Derin's Mom

Thank you. Your support means a lot to me as well.

I will be delighted to give cheerful messages in a short while as well.

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Eligus

Derin'sMom -- your DD sounds lovely, and it sounds as if you are doing an excellent job of listening to her and providing what she needs.  That is fantastic... what a good mom.

Keep in mind for yourself (as you too are going through a hard time) that teenagers can rant and cry about deep issues that are bothering them.  But sometimes, all they need is an empathetic ear and emotional support during that time.  Once they receive that, and have expressed their worries, they are FINE and they quickly move on and their mood changes (right after they hang up the phone 😏... it's the parents who then worry, late into the night, thinking about all their child has said, and wondering whether or not the child is okay.  In the vast majority of instances, the kids are FINE... it takes the parents longer to adjust and move on than it takes them.  If you ever had a child cry at school or daycare drop off, the experience is very similar... usually within 5 minutes of the new environment, the child is happily playing and moved on while the parent is distraught.  As you said in your earlier posts, it takes time, but adjustment will happen.  Keep repeating to her and yourself  that "this, too, shall pass."  

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Derin's Mom

Oh thank you. Ballet moms are always good 🙂

You are correct, and I also know that she was feeling moody even when she was with us as well. So, we have to sort out the real issues from minors.

Thanks a lot.

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Pinkytoes

I feel for your DD with the homesickness. My DD went to a residential program last year and is away at a college program this year. Homesickness has been an issue both times.

I have noticed that as long as she is going thing to thing she is not as homesick. It's when she has downtime and is too tired to do anything about it or is not sure what to do with the time that she seems to send the lone "I miss you" text/message. I agree with much that is written here. But I  would add that I was trying NOT to admit that I missed her too. Then she started saying that my NOT missing her was making her feel worse because she was missing me so much. So now I say "I miss you too" when she talks about missing me... And then try to swiftly redirect the conversation. She is "on" to my approach, but somehow it helps her to hear me say that I am missing her too. It sounds silly, but for her this works better.
 

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Derin's Mom

Thank you; I guess they want to know in words that they still matter and are a part of the family. My DD is still quite young and is struggling a lot with trying to cope with everything.

I hope she comes through.

Edited by dancemaven
Removed full quote of immediately preceding post. Please go to bottom of thread to enter post in a new box.

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Derin's Mom

Hello, back again.

DD completed 3 months abroad. Still feeling some ups and lots of downs. As weeks passed by we understood that major issue is feeling very lonely. The school's not being an international environment and her being the only foreigner have led to this loneliness. She does not have friends. She still cannot speak well (to her understanding, I am sure she is doing fine actually) and says that she is left alone a lot. Second issue is her dissatisfaction with the hours of training. She says if she was happy with the ballet then there would be something to hold on tight.

We visited her as much as we could, to give support. And actually saw that the main problematic really lies in that loneliness.

Anyway... we now encourage her to be brave enough to return back even though this may be considered and reflected to her as a failure back at her previous school; which is definitely not. Learning to live alone, coping  with a new language, learning a different style of ballet... all are plus.

My question is; if she decides to come back to her previous school in mid term; what should we expect? Have you experienced this before? Any suggestions for guiding her?

 

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dancemaven

It may depend on what terms she left on.  When DD left for a residential school, her teachers were all supportive.  Her AD was not.  Neither were many of her classmates.  After the first year, she seriously considered returning home because there had been serious changes at her residential school.  I explored the lay of the land at her home studio:  The teachers were thrilled and supportive, the AD was coy and seemed punitive,  some of her classmates were unsupportive.

We weren’t entirely sure what we would do, but that summer, she received an offer to train at well-respected release-time program where she’d gone for SI a second year.  We ultimately went with that option.  She went there for a year, was ecstatically happy, then leadership changed, and once, again, she changed residential programs.

Sometimes you can go home . . . And sometimes you can’t really.  You may need to just take stock, see what the lay of the land is, what she will get out of it and what other options might be.  She will have only been gone a semester.  She can just log it up to a semester “studying abroad.”

But, in no circumstances, should she EVER consider her semester abroad a “failure”.  She has much to be proud of—-not the least of which is being willing to try something and being able to discern when something just isn’t the right fit at that particular time.  It was a “study abroad” for a semester.  It was an experience and now she’s back home.  It broadened her horizons, showed her some current limitations, and gave her ideas for her wants, needs, and desires.

Best wishes to you both.

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Derin's Mom

Thank you, so nicely put. It is just a semester abroad, experiencing the horizons.

And she really now knows what to expect and what to look for.

I see that she is more mature even in 3 months.

And looking to your DD's experience,  my DD may face a similar attitude. Her classmates will be happy to see her back but will probably give comments like she did not grow as much as an abroad trainer does. When you have no idea about what's going on in different schools away from home, then you may be a bit out of context. Her school director may also be a bit punitive and say she has lost a few (in ballet) as well.

I think the way she presents herself and the experience she lived to others will be the definitive. Just as you mentioned, she could only be proud.

I still hope she decides to stay but if she does not, we are there to support, both emotionally and professionally.

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Eligus

I don't have any answers for you, Derin'sMom, but just support.  Transitions are difficult for everyone.  Just keep reminding her that you are proud of her as a person and a growing, maturing human being, no matter what happens with ballet. 

In my opinion, it is never a mistake to experience a different culture and to expand your own horizons a bit.  Dancemaven made an excellent point about looking at it like a study abroad program.  Even if the "fit" doesn't feel right now, that doesn't mean it won't later, and, as you said, now she knows what she needs to expect and look for when the opportunity arises again.  Growth happens in different ways and at different times.  

And if the home studio doesn't "fit" anymore, either, that's okay, too.  Just keep your eyes and ears open for whatever IS next for her.  And be patient with the uncomfortable feeling of "not knowing"... that (to me) was the hardest part.  I wish you both luck.

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Derin's Mom

Thank you Eligus. Support is all we need perhaps.

Here in our country, we do not have studios but main education is given in conservatoires. We had frozed her school for some time so if she decides to come back she will continue her education back in her state conservatoire.

After reading your comments I decided to emphasize on the "experience" more than whether it was right or wrong.

Her talent, perseverance is there so nothing is lost. We just need to let her see that every step is a plus on her ballet journey.

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Eligus

If language is still an issue for her (after being there for 3 months), I would REALLY encourage you to get her a private tutor.  At the very least, the lessons would give her another opportunity to keep busy, and perhaps to meet other people.  

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Derin's Mom

Thanks Eligus... She had that tutor before she went there. Actually she can understand pretty well now, talking well and sharing her feelings in that language is an issue.

But as you may understand, French are very conservative when it comes to communicating with foreigners. The problem is more that than speaking well. She feels the need to communicate well to express her feelings and lose that loneliness.

Her conservatoire  and college she attends takes all her time. So, no time for an extra tutor.

Anyhow, she'll be back home for Xmas. We'll be able to calm down and see the next step.

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