Homesickness or Loneliness?

It’s been awhile, but I’m back.

Fraser Island, Australia

Fresh water lake on Fraser Island, Australia

The last 4 or 5 weeks have been some of my least favourite in Sweden, and as a result, I’ve felt completely uninspired to write here.

It’s been a year and a half since I’ve been back to Australia and it’s been well over a year since I’ve been to an English speaking country (Ireland) – these two factors combined with the fact that my family have been off in the outback out of phone reach for almost 2 months, my husband was away for work for a few weeks, and almost every friend I have in Sweden has been away for the past 6 weeks has meant I’ve been suffering from homesickness, loneliness, or a bit of both. I’m actually feeling much better now, or I’d probably still be on blog strike.

Signs I’ve been homesick:

1. I feel like a friendly labrador that wants to go up and greet strangers. Last week I was walking down the street in central Stockholm and overheard an old Australian couple walking in front of me – I really slowed down for a good 20 seconds or so trying to think of a reason to chat to them, if only to hear an Australian accent for a few minutes.  Yesterday I was in a department store and overheard an Australian woman buying a huge number of things for a/her house – this would suggest to me that she had probably just moved here and I thought about saying hello – the fact that I didn’t might suggest I’ve been in Sweden too long as I am sure she would have been very friendly. Last time I went back to Australia I only went as far as the airport bathrooms before a total stranger started chatting to me. 5 minutes later, and the same thing happened again. This is something I’ve been missing.

2. I’ve taken to watching Australian TV shows (of dubious quality) that air in Sweden. Border Security, Master Chef Australia, Australia’s Next Top Model, McLeod’s Daughters, the list goes on and on.

3. I feel happy to do otherwise boring errands that involve calling up my Australian bank, University, etc. Although this might just suggest a need to speak English more as I gained the same (surprising) pleasure from calling a British shop about a dress I ordered that they lost.

4. I was constantly searching for flights to Australia. I haven’t booked anything yet for two reasons:

1. Because I am waiting for my new visa for Sweden and am not allowed out of the country without it. Well I could leave, but I would most likely be unable to return. Everyone has been on holiday in Sweden, which means that the immigration office hasn’t been processing visas and I’ve now been waiting 4 months for a simple visa renewal.

2. Because I’ll have to wait until (Australian) autumn next year to go. I’m not used to 40 degree summers anymore, and my mother lives in the tropical part of Australia which is very red-haired person unfriendly. I actually have a note in my calendar today to book flights back to Australia…

Some of the things I’m missing about Australia: Apart from my wonderful family and friends of course.

Finding creatures like these in the garden:

Green tree frog, Australia

A friendly green tree frog in my mother’s garden. I’ve found these guys everywhere – once I even found one curled up around an eyeliner in my mother’s makeup bag!

A rainbow lorikeet




The many varied landscapes of Australia

Skyline of Melbourne, Australia

Skyline of Melbourne, Australia

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Ok, time to stop the complaining. I just thought it was good to point out that life overseas, even in the land of delicious summer berries, and cute dalahästar, is not always rosy, and even when you’ve moved a lot, you still sometimes experience homesickness.

(All photos are either mine or used with permission)

8 Responses to “Homesickness or Loneliness?”

  1. Lou says:

    Oh I understand the feeling! I’ve been here 14 years and still feel like this, it seems it never goes away. I did however pick up a 7000SEK return ticket to Sydney! T-2.5 weeks, the countdown has begun.

  2. Lou Lou says:

    I’m flying with Emirates through a great website I discovered:

  3. Natalie says:

    Hi, I only just found your site. I can completely understand how you feel! I’m an Aussie who moved here from Sydney just over 3 years ago, to be with the Swede I met while he was on holiday in Australia. We were lucky enough to go back to Sydney for a month in March this year, & it’s been very hard being back here.

    It hasn’t felt the same for me since we returned. I never realised how much I actually missed my family & friends, or Sydney, a place I didn’t think I would miss so much. I live in Östersund, in the mid-north of Sweden, which is a huge reduction population-wise in comparison to Sydney. I’ve been doing a few things that you listed as well (like looking up flights & watching lots of Masterchef Australia!). I miss the heat, I miss the social aspect of our culture (it’s so much easier to meet new people & actually make new friends than it is here in Sweden!). While I enjoy the cultural differences, I miss some familiarity, plus the variety that I find Australia has much more of.

    I’m glad I found your post & site. While it’s no fun to be in this situation, it’s nice to read something from someone who clearly understands (I don’t know any Aussies up here).

    Best of luck xo

    • Michelle says:

      Thanks for your message Natalie – it’s always nice to hear from people in a similar situation. I imagine Östersund is even more of a change to Stockholm given the size difference.

      Are you planning to stay there long term?

      Keep in touch, and best of luck to you too 🙂

    • Natalie says:

      Yes, Östersund is quite different to Stockholm! & quite a drastic reduction from Sydney. There’s about 60 000 people here, quite a leap from the 4 million in Sydney. It was nice at first, now it just feels a bit isolating. Not much in the way of variation for things to go & do either.

      We won’t be here forever though. I’m applying for university next year, which means we’ll end up in either Gothenburg or Stockholm. Though we’re hoping to spend a year in Australia sometime soon. That all depends on finances.

      Congrats on your purchase of your new apartment. The whole rental/buying real estate here is quite different to back home.

  4. Agnes says:

    Hi Michelle, I found your blog post when I googled “australians living in Östersund” 🙂 I have lived in Sydney for almost 4 years now, and thinking about the future makes me want to move home to Sweden. So me and my aussie partner are looking into moving back. Don’t know if Natalie will be able to see this comment but I would really like to get in contact with her so I can ask how her life in Östersund have been, how she found it with work and just general living. I am a bit worried how my boyfriend will survive haha.

    How come yuo moved to sweden if you dont mind me asking?

    Thank you very much.

    • Michelle says:

      Hopefully Natalie will see your comment and get in touch!

      I moved here to study and I stayed because of my husband’s job.

      I know a few guys married to Swedish women who moved here (to Stockholm) and it seems to be going well, but I have to say getting work can be a challenge. Could your boyfriend study Swedish for awhile in Australia before arriving?

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