Home thoughts from abroad

Perceptions. I’m interested in how one perceives their adopted country from their native country. I’ve been back but 2.5 days, roughly. I’ve had meetings in the office, emails to catch up on, planning to do for the next few months at work. I had a big deal work dinner tonight in which I got to see many good “professional friends,” people with whom I work but with whom I actually have come to learn to love to play with as well. Amazingly, I’ve found that after a few days, I’ve been happy to be back. Happier than I was expecting. And more “home” than I was expecting. So the question is, why am I so pessimistic about my life in the UK when I’m back in the US, and why am I so unexpectedly happy in the UK once I’m actually here?

I didn’t expect it. I arrived back veiled in a pessimistic funk. I admit it. How could I not? Being in America was so comfortable. I felt so home-y. I was also doing my beach vacation thing, my go-to-Minnesota thing, my road-trip in a car thing. My shopping thing, my familiar food thing, my reading books about Americana thing. And it was easy to ignore the things that I do like about England. Even the things that I prefer about England. (Ask me how many times I get asked about American Healthcare Reform in my current UK existence…)

I’m interested to hear what other expats think. When you’re back in your native country, do you feel melancholic about your adopted country? What is your average level of stress on return from your native land? Are you happy to be back immediately, or does it take you (like it takes me) a few days to remember that your new life in your adopted country is pretty good? How do you strike the balance? What is too much time away, too much time in your native country such that you forget what you like about your new land?


3 responses to “Home thoughts from abroad

  1. Did I not tell you, right before you left, not to underestimate the power of the end-of-vacation blues? You should listen to your sister.

    Right before I head back to China I get this flurry of panic about things to do, but I also start to get excited about being there. I think that’s because I find living there to be really challenging, in a way that the US just is not, and I like the challenge. And then, of course, I worry about language slippage if I stay away too long. This summer was probably too much time away, but that’s from a work standpoint for me; I get less work done in the US than in China, unless I’m physically dragging myself out to archives.

    • I should clearly always listen to my sister. Point taken 🙂

      I did start to panic right before I came back. Started to have nightmares and sleepless nights. Worried about the things that would need to be done when I was back, and my ability to do them. Started to worry and panic about the fact that I wake up early naturally when I’m abroad and out of my normal schedule and not as early when I’m “home” … I started to worry that it implied something deeper about my desire to do my job and to live here when really it probably just reflects the fact that I’m more tired when I’m working more than full time and trying to get a lot done. I think it’s probably all panic and just reflects the fact that, when away I can release some of the pressures of a stressful job, and when I’m here at “home” in my normal life, I have to deal with the realities of my being an adult with a job.

      Should keep in mind this brilliant quote from John Mayer on Twitter: “I used to be the little engine that could. Now I’m the big engine that better. #adulthood”

  2. I’m usually really happy about being in the UK, though I’ll admit that it’s hard to come back after spending Christmas with my family. Not only do I have to go back to work, but my flat is freezing after having been without heat for three weeks!

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