Today we are talking about what expats do when they move back home after living abroad. The re-acclimatization to our home countries may seem simple to most people, but adjusting to ‘home’ can prove to be challenging at times for many expats, including myself. Let’s go over the 5 things expats do when we move back home. If you have any additions to this conversation, please leave a comment.
TRY TO FIT BACK IN
One of the first things we do when we move back home is to make attempts to fit in where we can. When you move back home, you basically plop yourself into an already moving and existing environment. As expats we may try to integrate ourselves into old family relationships or friendships to find out they are not the same. What I’ve learned is the best way to navigate these relationships may be to approach them in evolved, more mature ways versus trying to “fit in”.
Along the lines of fitting in, normal trends or popular activities are weird and make us feel older than we actually are. For some, this can include knowing what’s popular on the radio, relating to current sports, and trendy events. Things change over time and as expats, we may find it hard to keep up!
ENGAGING IN EXPERIENCES WE FEEL LIKE WE MISSED OUT ON WHILE ABROAD
I don’t know if you can tell from videos and photos I’ve posted but I have been enjoying my life and eating all the yummy things the US has to offer. For example, a new In-N-Out Burger shop opened in Colorado which meant I had to try it! This was because In-N-Out Burger was something I mentally craved while living abroad and I wasn’t going to satisfy this craving until I got a burger and fries!
Engaging in experiences like eating American fast food and visiting familiar places are normal things expats do. However, after about a couple of weeks or months, you find a new routine and those vices and experiences become normal again.
FALLING IN LOVE WITH HOME AGAIN
Falling in love with home sounds easier said than done. I think the concept is a lot more challenging if you come back home to a job or lifestyle you had previously before moving abroad that you found unfulfilling. Those things may have frustrated you then so coming back to the same life would be frustrating again.
As expats it’s important that we move back to lives that are rewarding. Fulfillment while in your home country can come in the form of having the desired job, fun hobbies, and loving family and friends. However, a lot of people may have moved abroad to get away from family. So, coming back home can be triggering. It’s important to find things that make moving home worth coming back for.
PREPARE FOR ADJUSTMENTS AND EVERYDAY TASKS
In India and Morocco, I did not drive. I used public transportation, taxis, and private vehicles to go everywhere (that’s if I wasn’t already walking to my destination). In Denver, Colorado, I have to drive everywhere. In my opinion, it’s not one of those cities where you rely on public transportation unless you live in a more centralized location. Because of this, I found myself stuck in a couple of snowstorms while driving for the first time in over a year. I did not mentally prepare myself for those crazy experiences, so I was nervous while driving. Natural occurrences and everyday activities are things you can’t always plan for when moving back home! I think that’s when resilience needs to kick in.
FINDING YOUR PURPOSE (AGAIN)
In morocco, I felt like I was coming into my own and then I moved back home. From home I moved to India and it took a while for me to find my groove again. It was a tough and depressing time for me at the beginning but I eventually found a calling I enjoyed. And then we moved back to the USA.
Of course, I have worked on myself mentally, spiritually, and physically (all still a work in progress). However, it’s so hard to fall back into a life where you’re finding yourself again, especially as an adult.
Some people manage easier than others, especially when they move back home to a job, family, or hobbies that give them purpose and fulfillment right off the bat. I think having a job immediately ready for you to start when you arrive (in your home country or abroad) is a beautiful thing.
In my case, I would classify myself as a serial expat. This means I move a lot. When I am back in the States, it’s hard to know if finding a traditional job is worth the time, effort, and possible rejection due to such a transient lifestyle.
But what’s great about life is we keep evolving and we are met with new mercies every day. Knowing this keeps me grounded as I find my purpose again.