When I was 15, I moved to Germany as an exchange student on the Congress-Bundestag scholarship. Our first weeks there, we spent at an intensive language camp, which did all it could to prepare us for the 10 months ahead. It was there that we all received this advice from a wise teacher.
When you feel sad and homesick, take pictures of doorknobs.
Doorknobs in Germany aren’t unlike doorknobs in the States or anywhere else I suppose, but hunting for interesting ones gets you out of the house and into exploration mode. It allows you to see parts of your new town in an unexpected way, and chances are it might spark conversions with neighbors who are curious about what you’re doing.
After photographing the doorknobs, you must print the pictures. Then it is recommended you sort them for sending in a common area of where you’re living. This will open conversations with those you live with, because… who wouldn’t wonder why you have so many doorknobs collected!?
Then, once sorted, send a doorknob to each of your friends back home. Preferably, refrain from explaining what you are sending, and ensure your return address is clear on the envelope
Now wait — hopefully in the company of those you live with, who are now aware that you’re feeling homesick. With time, letters will return from home. “What is this doorknob?”
Revel in being connected across space and time via doorknobs, and feel, hopefully, a little less homesick.