Home Not So Sweet Home

You’ve lived abroad for years now. You can just about get by in the lingo but you tire of speaking caveman. ‘Hello. Me from Britain. You come from? To meet you nice’. In any case your kid still corrects your accent. You’re fed up of the bureaucracy, the weather and the shortage of decent lattes within a 100/1000/5000 km radius. And now, finally, it’s time to go home.luxury luggage photo

You return home to free babysitting from the parents / in-laws, printed newspapers that you can read without hours on reverso.net and the comfy familiarity of friends from your teenage years.

Relishing the idea of relaxing back into homelife routine, you soon realise that home is not so sweet as you imagined it. You’ve lived abroad for so long that ‘abroad’ and ‘home’ are playing tricks on each other. Home is where the heart is. Or where the suitcase is? Or where the birth certificate says?

Getting your skates on in Luanda, Angola (while riding a minibus)

Then the homesickness, or shall we call it ‘abroadsickness’ creeps in. You’ve changed, but your surroundings haven’t, and not in a good way. You’ve grown up, got a foreign other half, made a business, a baby, a new way of life. Your exhausting lifestyle of island hopping, unpacking and repacking, countless trips to Ikea now seems rather glamorous and you yearn for that excitement. You’ve forgone your Louboutin stilettos for a land of velcro slippers. The weather is grey, everything is magnolia.

Fortunately this doesn’t last long. You reconnect with friends far and wide. Expat buddies, school mates, parenting group friends. Skype, Google Hangouts, Facetime, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, the good old telephone. Technology is your best expat friend of all. And en route for the holiday / business meeting / trip to the in-laws you decide to call in on a friend living just up the road, only a few hundred kilometres away.

And just as you reach the perfect balance of homelife convenience and globetrotting, you’re moving on again. Better get cracking on the caveman.

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