Celebrating holidays outside of the U.S. and dealing with classic homesickness

Alex reflects on an adventure-filled journey during his time abroad in London.

Alex Bowden, Herald Foreign Correspondent

Well, it’s that time of the year where people think it’s cool to play Christmas music because Thanksgiving is over. Oh, and it’s also that time of year where I have only a few days left in London. Yes, I must retire my trip to the land of tea and bad teeth to return to the wild of Rhode Island where I must fend for myself against the hipsters of Providence, the Viva La Stool gangs of RWU and all the people who got mad at me for saying Christmas music instead of holiday music at the start of this article. 
 
Look, I know I complain a lot about home, but I’ll be honest with you Hawks’ Herald readers, I’ve had it with London. It’s a really pretty city, but I’m ready to go home. This realization came when I had my Thanksgiving dinner. Provided that this Thanksgiving dinner was paid for by my study abroad program and I had a great time with friends and food, there was only one problem. I only got a dollop of stuffing on my plate. 
 
Granted, I was informed later that I could have asked for more stuffing, but that one dollop of stuffing made me miss America (not Miss America) so much. European or “British-ean” ways of handling food, culture and mostly everything are very laid-back and simple. I almost feared to request more stuffing just because I did not want to solidify my already glaringly obvious status as the dumb, fat American. I think, though, my issue sprouts from something called culture clash, which is only being perpetuated by the study abroad situation. 
 
Because the European culture is very laid-back, I feel the need to assimilate. Therefore, things that matter in the United States like punctuality, mass quantity and hygiene are thrown out the window. But because I am under a United States schedule where I must attend, turn in and act with pure perfection constantly, I am being conflicted by my surroundings which don’t require that amount of perfection. The end result — stress and homesickness. 
 
You may be asking yourself, how did you get from not enough stuffing on your turkey to homesickness, Alex? Well readers, frankly, the only thing that gets me through the United States bar of perfection is my horrid eating habits which I cannot indulge in, in London, without spending tons of money. Yes, I have a long family history of diabetes and a dangerously high chance of injecting insulin for the rest of my life if I’m not too careful, but, indulging yourself is the one thing that is easiest to do when you’re stressed and especially when you’re missing home.
 
So, here are some special remedies to help you get out of homesickness that a stupid BuzzFeed list won’t tell you. First off, ask your waiter for more stuffing at Thanksgiving… you won’t be complaining in a college newspaper article later on. Secondly, when you do get stressed abroad and feel the need to indulge, get a healthy sandwich, it will fill you up and benefit you in the long run. Finally, the number one remedy to solving homesickness or stress is opening up your thousand dollar phone and calling the ones you love. 
 
Whether it be the one who gave birth to you, the one who was in the room during the birthing process or the younger one that gets treated better than you, call these people. That is your family, and your family misses you leaps and bounds more than you miss them. I know, though, that no matter how many FaceTime conversations I have with my family I can’t wait to be back with them. Because I know that when I get back, there will be extra stuffing in store just for me.