Especially new Expats are struggling with the so-called Expat syndrome: We tend to see only the negative parts of the new culture we are living in and praise our own culture from back home. It is human and does not define your character. It’s more of a coping strategy of the human brain for an overload of uncertainty and new beginnings. However, this attitude won’t make you happy when living abroad.
Visiting home as the Expat
Visiting home as the expat
I will be flying to Europe tomorrow and living abroad for two years now my feeling about this holiday and coming “home” has changed a bit. In this blog post, I want to share my view about this. If you are an expat yourself, you might resonate with this, if you are a friend of an Expat this might help you to understand your friend a bit better.
"Aren't you excited to come home?"
This is one of the most asked questions recently. Everyone around me is assuming that I am 100% excited about flying home and seeing all my family and friends again. The truth is: Yes, I am excited (and grateful that I am able to) but also, my definition of home has changed a bit in the meantime. This new place I am living in has become my home more than it was a year ago and while I am missing things when living abroad, I am also missing the local culture when visiting back home. Moving abroad brings a funny culture shock experience along. I am trying to illustrate that in that image below:
First, you are missing things from one country; later you are missing things from the other. It is the natural process of adaptation and growing as a person. I am now one of those “in-between” people, and I am excited to see what I will say about this next Christmas.
"Tell me about you!"
Another typical thing of visiting home as an expat: You are always in the middle of attention. No matter how often I am asking my friends to tell me about them and their life, our conversation will soon go back to me. I understand where this is coming from. Moving abroad is exotic, and I did not only switch countries but culture, lifestyle, hobbies and even my career. So there is a lot of change going on in my life people want to know about. However, I am also very interested in how my friends are feeling. The general answer is something like “You know, same old. Same job, same partner…let’s talk about you!”. If that is true, we would have had nothing to talk about before I left. Of course, things are going on! And only because they don’t entail turning your whole life upside down, they are not less important. So please my dear friends: Let’s also talk about you <3 Also, let’s face it: I will be answering the same questions about me again and again for the next couple of weeks 😉
Let's connect on Social Media
Want some good vibes in your mail?
I have the feeling of never doing enough. I am not doing justice to the friendships I want to cherish.
"Why did you not say you are visiting home?"
Christmas for an expat can be a stressful time. I sometimes have this image in my head that everyone wants to have ” a piece of the cake.” I have the feeling of never doing enough. I am not doing justice to the friendships I want to cherish. My dear friend, I want to meet you! And not only in passing. Best case scenario would be to sit down with a cup of coffee for a couple of hours and really talk about life and not just meet in a bigger group discussing small talk topics. But it is also draining. Not only is it overwhelming to be back in a culture that suddenly feels foreign, but there is also always these thoughts: Have I told her I am in town? Should I call her or is it too late now? Should I meet with my former colleagues? Where do I get some last minute Christmas gifts? And just like that one week is over and I am rushing to the next city, and the struggle starts again. Each year I am telling myself that I want to be more present in the moment. Let’s see how this is working this time 🙂
If you are having a friend who is living abroad here are my 2 cents:
So these are the thoughts in my head when visiting home. I am so looking forward to hugging everyone! I want to walk around town without a tight schedule, to re-connect with the German culture that was home for me for such a long time, shopping all the food I missed and smile about the different cultural differences I totally forgot about.
So, friends, the countdown is on! I am coming “HOME” and I am looking forward to reconnecting and being shocked by the German straightforwardness and I will definitely pay to much tip out of habit 🙂
Thanks for sharing the love and stopping by
Share this article with a friend and share the love:
You also might like:
In my research for my workbook for Expat Partners, I came across many useful facts and figures. I talked to industry leaders and HR experts, and I want to share some of the key trends at the moment that shape the global assignment movement.
Here are my personal Top 5 news podcasts I follow on an almost daily basis. Some of them are more for a long drive on the weekend while others are just taking a couple of minutes – informing me about the top news before I had my first coffee of the day.
Just recently we mastered a 7.000km (4.400 miles) road trip through the United States. Only the two of us and the endless plains of the American Highway. That means you are driving for hours without leaving the highway which route you can see for miles and miles. However: We are still happily married and even enjoyed that means of transportation. We got asked many times whether this distance in such a short time was not stressful. As we, on the other hand, have found it quite relaxing and enjoyable I decided to share my top proven tricks with you to make each longer road-trip to a fantastic journey.
In my mind, you have officially and to 100% moved abroad when you stopped going to the hairdresser and dentist on your yearly visits to your home country 🙂 In my case, it was heavy pain that forced me to say goodbye to the idea of going to my doctors during the next Christmas.
In this blog post, I want to share with you some of the things I realized are pretty different about this visit to the dentist. I would love to learn from your experience. Please comment below what happened to you and if you can resonate with the differences I realized.