“I’m going home” isn’t a normal phrase for an expat. Everytime that I hear that phrase, it gives me mixed feelings. It goes without saying the famous sentence “home sweet home”. Where is “home” after several international movings?
After one month of moving out your country, you still feel like you’re on vacations. However, a few months later you realize you have a new life routine and that the people and places are different. You even have to learn new ways to communicate given the vocabulary’s differences in your same language or due to a whole new language.
The truth is that you will find the way to connect with your new life’s rhythm and culture. At the end of a day full of new learnings and adjustments, you end up feeling safe at your new home. You realize that change came to stay, at least for some time.
Comparison is inevitable. You compare your new country’s climate with that of your home country. You compare the streets and you even compare how the people treat you. With those comparisons, you start learning, you understand that other countries have rules that would be useful at your home country and at the same time, you understand that your new country needs a lot from yours.
Homesickness comes along, but you find the way to bear it. In my case, I took advantage of every new country to get to know and learn everything I could from the city where I lived and the surrounding ones. I took the opportunity to get involved with locals and another expatriates. This was useful to increase my circle of friends and to learn from their experiences.
The great moment came with vacations time: To go back to that place called “home” to reencounter with the family you left behind at your home country. When you go back, you go with the emotion to recover your old routines, your bed, your favorite place at your home, your friends and special places at your city.
You basically leave “home” to go back “home” in a temporal manner. When you go back home you realize that some things have changed and, if you were gone for a long time, you receive the sad surprise that some people are not there anymore. The most special thing above all is to reencounter with your beloved ones, the long conversations, the laughs, the family meals, and the good news. This reencounter becomes the vitamin of your life. It makes you strong enough to go back to your new routine far away from there and that newly gained strength lasts until the next vacations.
Throughout the years and my international moving, I’ve learned that “home” is so much more than a physical place. “Home” is that place where you feel comfortable with your beloved ones. It’s that place where you rest, read a book and cook your favorite dish. It’s that place where you feel happy, where you can laugh nonstop, where you can cry and where you can find the strength to keep going.
You build your “home” wherever you want, and you can add anything to it.