Expat Life

The eve of our first visit back ‘home’

We’ve been here just shy of three months. Tomorrow we make our first trip back home, and I have mixed feelings about the trip.

First off, any family or friends reading this, it’s not you guys! I can’t wait to see close family and friends, particularly those I used to see very regularly. There’s been quite a gap that you all filled in your various quirky ways! So get the beer ready, I’m a coming home!

So why the mixed feelings?

My uneasiness comes from going back to the places I left behind. The places I loved. London was my home for many years, and I thrived on it’s busy, grubby, ancient streets and it’s well known impatient and dismissive attitude to outsiders. I loved the anonymity of the city, and while there I learned, as much as an outsider can learn, to be a Londoner.

Now that I’m going back, I can’t help this niggling feeling that I just don’t live in the UK anymore. My house is here. Note I don’t say ‘home,’ for me home is where my family is which means ‘home’ is in multiple places. But everything I own and my recent experiences are all in this new place. This is where I sit down with my husband to relax in front of the tv; this is where I cook meals for my family, and this is where we put the world to rights at the end of each day. Our apartment on the other side of the pond is, in effect, home.

It feels strange going back to London, a place I love so much, yet can no longer say I’m resident in. I feel acutely aware that now, as a somewhat outsider, I will view my old world with new eyes. Living in another place means you get used to doing things a different way, and now I worry that things that didn’t bother me, or that I didn’t notice before, might be annoying. I’m also sure things that I’d get frustrated at when I lived in the UK, I will feel nostalgia for.

So far, I feel I’ve settled fairly well into my new surroundings. I can even say I’m happy here. But just typing that I feel like a traitor! It’s almost like I’m waiting for something to ‘kick in’ something that says, “you belong in the UK, what are you doing playing at being American?!” I guess the real thing that’s making me feel so uneasy is that I am scared of realising all of the Britishness I left behind.

Despite the unsettled feeling of returning to a load of memories and life I once had; there is one thing I’m looking forward to most and it’s trumping any feelings of uneasiness I have. What is it?

Hugs from the people I love. I can’t wait to see each and every one of you. (You know who you are!). See you in Blighty 😉

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