Good morning, (she says with an invigorated British accent).
I don’t know about you, but when ever I return from visiting ‘home’, I always have a sense of melancholy, wistful for what my life could be if I still lived there, and quite honestly, sometimes dispirited.
Re-entry is never easy, my husband (bless him) does the utmost to make my arrival back to my second home as joyous as possible. He picks me up from the airport with a huge smile and stories of how they missed me while I was away. Dinner is ready, wine, chilled, in the fridge and fresh flowers adorn my entry way and living room. Every single time.
I always feel sorry for him the first 24-48 hours I am back, he treads on eggshells around me incase I say the dreaded words ‘I want to go back and live in the UK’. He breathes an audible sigh of relief when I return to my upbeat self and life resumes a sense of normalcy.
If you are reading this as a foreigner living in a country different to the one of your birth, you will understand me; or, perhaps your family live 2,500 miles away, you left home, never moved back, but your family still live in your home town, if so, you too will understand.
The intrepid life of an expat, the toss up between adventure and stability, pastures new, trailblazing a life and living the hedonistic existence of the experienced traveler, abound with cultural savvy. Sounds sexy, right?
It’s actually not always what it is cracked up to be (a true British saying). I will always have one foot in England and one in Seattle, torn between the two for very different reasons. Both offer the same, but different: Lifestyle, family, experiences, opportunity, familiarity and challenge, but it doesn’t matter where you live, sometimes the struggle is real, just ask most expats out there.
Where is my forever home?
What will I do when the parents get older and need us more?
Where will I draw my pension?
Will I always have to fill in 2 tax returns?
How long can I stay here on a Green Card, and what happens if I do? (lot’s of ramifications here)
What is best for my children – now young adults? (this is a BIG one)
The list is endless……..
To keep this light-hearted I thought I would share a list I typed on my phone on while waiting to take off, it encapsulates my mood and thought process at the time perfectly!
Lessons learnt being back home in Blighty, in no particular order of importance.
1: I will never, never, not want to live in England, I think about it at least once a day, more at Christmas, birthdays and when I, or they need some TLC
2: I love living in Seattle, most of the time.
3: I love the opportunities and experiences offered by living overseas, but part of me wishes we had never left. #retirementconfusion #transatlanticgrandma?
4: I’m definitely at home amongst the Gin & Tonic brigade. My peeps.
5: Every time I go home I think the food and the restaurant scene has come such a long way since I left over 9 years ago. So many restaurants, so little time.
6: Drinking gin wreaks havoc with jet lag, stick to wine instead. This was the first time I’ve ever had jet lag, so after a social experiment I discovered gin should not be drunk after 7pm if you’d like to sleep through the night. #happyhour or #lunchtime only
7: I LOVE getting ‘dressed up’ for coffee, lunch, going for a days shopping (I still ❤️ John Lewis!) dinner or drinks. No matter the occasion, get your glad rags on! #nolycraoutsidethegym
8: I miss the supermarkets and the ready made meals with my whole ❤️ OMG, they have to be the best in the world. I’ve been to at least 30 different countries and never have I witnessed such delights available in a supermarket.
9: No matter how much time you have back home, it’s never enough, even if you think so at the time.
10: I ‘need’ a rose covered cottage in the English countryside, preferably by the sea.
Who knows what the future will hold, I certainly wish I had a crystal ball, but seeing as I don’t I’m currently practicing what I preach. Live in the now, live with intention, don’t worry about what you can’t control, make the most of every opportunity, laugh a lot, and love freely and without judgement.
Home is where the ❤️ is, and I’m lucky to have a heart big enough to share between two continents, and I’m sure you do too. If you feel the same as me about any or all of the above I would love to hear from you.
You know where I am if you would like a cup of tea and a good old chinwag.
P.S. Definition of a chinwag: a chat or gossipy conversation for example – They went for a ride out in the country and had a good old chinwag.