Sunday 15 July 2018 – France becomes World Champion!!! As the team lifts the trophy, butterflies invade my belly…

But when I look around, reality sets in. It’s just past 3 am and I’m sitting in my living room on the other side of the world, miles away from the buzz and hugs.

My social media feed is full of friends and family partying and celebrating under the summer sun whilst I’m freezing in Melbourne’s infamous winter.

That’s when it hits me. As much as I love being beyond borders, in moments like this, I do miss France. Forget FOMO, I’ve actually MO (Missed Out).

Next thing I know, I’m being interviewed on Golden Days Radio, a local radio station, about my book Where to Next? Randomly, the interviewer’s first question is: “I think I’d like to start with your mother country Solène… What are the things you miss the most?

His genuine query makes me realise that apart from football, or soccer if you will, there are 3 other F words that I truly miss about France…

F for… Food

There is no doubt about it, food is one of the things I long for and jump on when I get back. Not any food though… Mum’s cooking mainly. Just thinking about her delicious ratatouille makes my mouth water.

How do I cope? Well, anywhere in the world I live in, I try to find a yummy French bakery. A bread loaf is sometimes all it takes to make my tummy happy!

F for… Friends 

Some have stayed in the homeland; others have moved somewhere around the world. Distance and time difference make it tough to keep in touch and sometimes I can’t help but wonder if any have already forgotten about me…

How do I cope? Once in a while, I send a message to those close to my heart simply to say that I miss them dearly.

F for… Family

People who love you unconditionally, that’s my definition of family. Being so far away from them is hard both in moments of joy and times of pain.

How do I cope? At least once a week, we have an hour-long family call. We talk about everything that’s going on and coming up. In between, we chat daily in our WhatsApp family group.

My point is that no matter how much you love being beyond borders, there will always be events that will make you miss countries that have been home to you whether it is your homeland, where you were born and raised, or other countries with which you’ve developed a special bond and sense of belonging.

The key to going through these tough times isn’t to repress or ignore your feelings but to find your own ways to make what you miss feel a little bit closer to you wherever in the world you are.

So if you don’t mind, I’m going to watch France’s goals another million times but before I do, allow me to ask you this: what do you miss the most?

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