The 23 Hardest Things About Moving Home After Living Abroad

1. Having dreams where you’re back in your old city, in your old apartment, and everything is exactly the way it way — and then waking up and realizing that, at least for now, that chapter of your life is closed.

2. Occasionally messing up your speech patterns and using strange syntax because your brain is, in many ways, still working in the second language and you don’t quite know how to change directions without throwing everything into reverse.

3. The three or four food items that — beyond just being the overall cuisine that you miss — had come to be your diet staples that you don’t really know how to live without anymore.

4. Trying to plan your trip back to go visit all of your friends and realizing that airplane tickets are just as expensive as ever, if not more so.

5. Having to factor in airplane tickets into your budget on a semi-regular basis, for pretty much the rest of your life, because you’re either going to be there and visiting home or home and visiting there.

6. Trying to explain to someone who is going on a vacation to your city all the things they absolutely have to do and realizing that a) it’s impossible to do all of the things that you want them to do in any reasonable frame of time and b) you’re probably just confusing them with all of your overwhelming, sometimes incoherent advice.

7. Becoming incredibly jealous of anyone who is going there on vacation, because you wish so badly that you could be going (and part of you selfishly believes that they’ll never appreciate it enough, or in the right way).

8. Suddenly remembering all of the “touristy” things you never took the time to do — monuments you didn’t see, museums you didn’t tour — because you told yourself you would get to it next month, next year, someday.

9. Having Skype sessions with people back there and wishing you could reach through the screen and give them a hug, or grab something off of their plate that you haven’t gotten to eat in forever.

10. No longer living in your adopted language, where every cultural reference is a new gift to be discovered, and you pick up expressions and slang like a child finding shells along a beach.

11. Knowing that it would be selfish of you to expect all of your friends to come visit you here because transportation is so expensive, but always keeping a spare bed or at least a sleeping bag for anytime someone makes the trip.

12. Fearing that, whether it’s the language itself or the person you were there, that it’s all a muscle that will atrophy if you don’t constantly work it. (By the way, there is absolutely no shame in language or country-based meetups now that you’re back home — in fact, they’re kind of an essential part of life from now on.)

13. Worrying that you’re bringing up your old country too much, even if you lived there for years, because you know that people perceive it as “pretentious” or “bragging” if you talk about the place you used to live.

14. Wishing that you could take everyone who wants to travel by the shoulders, give them a shake, and tell them that it’s possible if you want to do it, and that there are so many different ways to make the logistics of it all work if you’re willing to try.

15. Getting so frustrated when people tell you how “lucky” you were to live abroad, when you know intimately how much tedious paperwork, hard work, and trying in the face of rejection it actually required. You know how little of it actually has to do with luck, especially when you’re actually working in your adopted country.

16. Experiencing these weird, listless times where all you want to do is listen to music and watch movies from that country so you can feel, if only for a minute, like you’re back there.

17. Trying to recreate some of your favorite dishes and — even if you are successful — realizing that it’s never quite the same without the surroundings and people that go with it.

18. Eventually realizing that there just isn’t enough space on your wall to fit all of the photos, maps, and prints that you want to put up from your time abroad — and that you’ll kind of look like a crazy person if you do.

19. Postcards. So many postcards everywhere, from so many people.

20. Spending way too much of your hard-earned money at speciality stores that carry the stuff you simply can’t live without, and hating yourself every time you drop 10 dollars on something that was 2 dollars back there.

21. Having no one to share your love of the music from your time abroad, and having everyone look at you really strangely when you put on some obscure German rap or Argentinian pop when you have a house party.

22. Occasionally slipping in an expression or word from that language, without meaning to, into an otherwise English sentence (and knowing that everyone thinks you’re really pretentious for doing it, even though it was completely an accident).

23. Realizing that you’re not really sure what “home” is anymore, because even though this is technically where you come from, you’re not sure you fit into the shape of the puzzle piece that you left behind. In a lot of ways, your time abroad felt much more like home, and maybe you won’t ever really feel settled until you can actually call it that — even if you’re all too familiar with how difficult immigration is. Being where you belong, maybe not today but someday, is something you’re willing to work for. TC mark

image – dfuster74

Chelsea Fagan

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

Read Here

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  • ianexclamation

    Reblogged this on Ian Exclamation and commented:
    A lot of these are ringing true for me. This is a good read.

  • mermilstein

    Reblogged this on Shamrock Shenanigans.

  • kylamckee

    Reblogged this on A Day in the Life and commented:
    …. Yep, definitely looking forward to these.

  • mheck

    Reblogged this on Late Night Ramblings of a College Girl and commented:
    If you have ever been abroad you will appreciate this. I feel this way still and I have been back in the states since July.

  • fromthemesstothemasses

    Reblogged this on From the mess to the masses and commented:
    No wonder I bring up Montreal and McGill in every instance that I could. Missing her so much!! I want some poutine from La Banquise, drinks (Rock arula, Blue Hawaiian, Missionary Downfall) from La Distillerie, eggs benedict from L’avenue, some Canard en conserve from Au Pied De Cochon, cheap ass chinese food from Shi Tang, Sze Chuan food from Restaurant Kan Bai, bubble tea from Nos Thé, choc nut waffles from Cacao 70, $12 Korean buffet at Seoul Chako, Western Omelette at Place Milton, Cappuccino from Cafe Castel, bagels from Fairmont Bagel, Beaver tails from Queue de Castor, special menu from L’Académie, beer from Trois Brasseur and l’amère à boire, shooter thursday at Peel pub….
    This list probably would never end.
    But mainly, I miss the people there and everyone else who are scattered around.

  • jacquelinehart

    Reblogged this on Jet Off With QU!.

  • Malcolm Sunny

    Reblogged this on Malcolm Sunny and commented:
    “Wishing that you could take everyone who wants to travel by the shoulders, give them a shake, and tell them that it’s possible if you want to do it, and that there are so many different ways to make the logistics of it all work if you’re willing to try.”

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    Reblogged this on At Home in the World and commented:
    For the many ex-pats out there reading our blog, this story hits on a few major challenges of returning home.

  • ilovedc74

    Reblogged this on MixWithEggs and commented:

    “Realizing that you’re not really sure what “home” is anymore, because even though this is technically where you come from, you’re not sure you fit into the shape of the puzzle piece that you left behind. ”

    看到我面有難色,他們就說「拿掉你的patriotic part,試著把這個因素去除掉去想,因為每個人一定都愛自己的國家.」
    把愛國心的因素去掉後,我默默的搖了搖頭…… 然後才發現其實自己是有選擇的.

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