Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What's the Cure for Homesickness?

I am an immigrant in another city. I experience grief certainly and indefinitely.

I do not really have any antidote for homesickness. But if I am homesick for Sibu after all these years I have a few.

I recently tried this antidote. Got up to a bright sun drenched morning. And I got myself two soft boiled eggs and took out the coffee shop set.

I arranged the still life for photography session...and after a while (not too long) I had some photos....but my soft boiled eggs had hardened a wee bit too much....

This is a good try - trying to carry on life outside Sibu where the Moi Soung Cafe and its er hu is just a long ago dream.

Being homesick is a normal emotional situation.

The Foochows when they first left the Min Valley in their cramped boats were very homesick and a few even tried to escape from the boats!

The Bishop Warne came on board to pray and help them and accompanied them all the way to the swampy and mosquito ridden Sibu. It was definitely a hard life then. When James Hoover came the worship services must have helped them.

At that time there were no counsellers to help them to overcome their sense of grief. Hardship was there. My grandmother Lau used to tell me that when she opened her eyes in the morning she could see only WORK WORK and WORK. And then when the day was done it was hard to find her bed! Sleep was an antidote. If only sleep could come! And not to think was a challenge. For her the stages of grief (unstated) were real. Finally she accepted her situation after many many years. When she went to the Min River for a visit she brought money to celebrate her new life in Sarawak. It was a kind of triumphant return as a migrant. She and her family had worked hard for that day.

Perhaps missionaries all over the world feel very homesick more often than not.

What about Rev. James Hoover. Was he ever homesick? What about Mrs. Hoover was she ever homesick?

Perhaps all the Methodists and the Hoovers sang "This World is not my Home" (a hymn which often is said to cure homesickness) at all times.

Now what is your cure for homesickness?

17 memories:

Superman said...

The coffee shop set is just like Moi Soung coffee cup. Where you got it? Miss the coffee in Moi Soung? It still packed as usual after all these years. I like the kampua mee there when I was a kid.

Ma said...

it brings back my memory of way back in the 60s, eating half-boiled eggs in any coffee shop in Sibu is considered a luxury or nutritious breakfast together with the toast spreaded with imported 'golden brand' butter and local made 'kaya'.

Yan said...

In KK, still not very homesick yet! Still not missing "kampua" yet. Not even the "kongpia". I do miss the cheap medical bill in Sibu. Just paid RM90 for seeing a doctor here! That can cause a heart attack instead of homesickness!

sarawakiana said...

Hi Superman
I got the coffee set from John Wong of Teck Huat (same row as Li Hua Hotel). Each time I go back to Sibu I must buy something from him. He is a very honest and cheerful guy who knows his product and explains well. I wanted to buy an enamal basin - but no stock!!The kampua in Moi Soung is definitely "IT". Lardy Lardy Lardy.

sarawakiana said...

Hi Ms Ma!! Nice of you to visit. I love that luxury then. Remember the times when only boys got to eat the good stuff?
I was lucky my parents treated us very equally.

Yes I can still buy the Golden Church butter in Brunei. I think now that butter is going to be a good gift for some !
I love homemade kaya too.

sarawakiana said...

Yan - Not yet homesick? KK is quite a nice place. Some stuff are expensive. They have very nice modern shops. But definitely medical fees are high.
I pray that you won't get homesick.
Have you found the fish kueh tiaw?
God Bless.

catherine said...

Homesickness strkes many people fairly often. I was away 6 years and never once came back because I enjoyed working in the summer and saved for my tuition.
Yes I love the long summer days and working long hours too. And then my friend's mother one day cooked satay for me. I cried. I was really homesick. But I could not come back. I had to work very hard and try not to think too much. Then I got use.

catherine said...

Typo there Sarawakiana. Golden Churn isn't it?

Robert Rizal Abdullah said...

Dear Chang Yi,

The best cure is to accept life as it is. I tried many ways - listen to some Iban songs, cook food Iban-style and going through old albums but they made it worse!
Now I just accept life as fated.

sarawakiana said...

Yes to a certain extent we older ones must accept our fate. But for the younger ones when homesickness attacks and if they can help it there must be some kinds of help. Little things /activities which ease the grief.
Thanks for dropping by.

sarawakiana said...

Catherine - thanks for spotting the typo.

pennylane said...

i remember when i was working in singapore i craved for the sarawak dry noodles... i thought surely no subtitute for that there. i kept thinking about home one time and i walked past a shop in china town and lo i saw jia xiang sarawak kolomee... i sat down and ordered the plain ones very much like the ordinary kolomee... i had my fix... but there were curried ones, with fish, and also with abalone too. not as tasty as the original of course :)... i sat down and ate quietly and imagined that i was eating in my favorite shops in miri... that was my cure for homesickness

sarawakiana said...

Well said!!
It is reflective time like this which makes our ordinary life extraordinary.
Hope you drop by again :)

A.H.AWANG MOIS said...

I have been away from my home town and favourite place of birth for some many years. I guess after a while you don't get homesick anymore or probably you get sick of thinking about home. My anthropological training tells me that a good cure for this kind of blues is to "go native" i.e. be part of the people around you and join in all the happenings.

sarawakiana said...

You are very right. This was what some of my missionary friends and VSO teachers told me.

Immerse completely into a new life.

There is actually no real cure. It is only mental adjustment as bottom line!! Perhaps homesickness is a luxury we cannot afford. But as the world grows smaller the word homesickness may become obsolete one day!!

Sophia T said...

Reading blogs by Sarawakian(a)s - it was a surreal experience as I was reading STP's posts about Laksa and Kampua on my cellphone on a train from Boston to New York City two weeks ago. Technology rocks.

sarawakiana said...

Sophia T
Thanks for visiting. Yes I totally agree with you!! Technology rocks and by writing a blog (I do become intense and write every day) I bring relatives and friends closer together and closer home too to Sarawak.
I wish all my readers happy remininscing!! It is a therapy on its own right.


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