Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Where can an expat call 'Home'

Lately I have been reading a lot of posts about expats and what they consider home.  In these difficult times which we are living, there is big migration.  Some people going back to their home country while others are leaving in search of 'shelter' from this economic storm.

Once a person decides to expatriate their home, I think there will always be some 'missing' for home, but over the years that gets less and eventually disappears as your new expat country becomes home.  But many of us expats are also guilty of making the comparisons for many years after we leave between our home and our new country, often over criticising or praising, giving us a incorrect view, based on our emotions.

But once you leave your home country, can you ever 'really' return?  A home country for many provides the idea of a haven, a familiar place, after all that is what a home is.  A place that is familiar and comforting.  But what happens once you mix cultures and become accustomed to a new way of life, not necessarily better ( nowhere is perfect) but different.  Does this change your perspective of home?  I think it has to, but to everyone in a different way.  And this to me is largely affected by your experience in your new country.  It also depends on your reasons for leaving your home country as well, if those reasons are major, you view of your home country must change as you start a new life in your new adopted 'home'.  It also depends on how long the person has been away from their 'home' country, the longer you are away, of course the more changes that will have happened.

I read a post about a woman who after ten years and the breakdown of her relationship decided to go home and was basically disappointed and disillusioned by what her 'home' had become.  But after a decade away surely you cannot expect to go back to the 'same' place, of course things will have changed, but more importantly you will have changed.  And we can all be guilty of putting on rose tinted glasses, especially when things around us have turned 'grey'.  But if you are in that situation, especially after a long length of time, you cannot expect to go back and things be as you left them and you have to be tolerant of that.  And also if you have come from a 'grey' place, you have high expectations of the new place, whether it is your home or not and that can lead you to disappointment.  Often we can return home to feel like an outsider as well, with no longer a place to call 'home'.

Nowhere is perfect in this world, everywhere has their pros and cons and we make our choices and decisions based on that.

1 comment:

  1. Good topic to raise Christine and interesting article.
    I love this quote
    "Live where you are planted, or plant yourself where you are living. Such is the life of the long-term expat. We need to learn to live with uncertainty. We must use the ability to adapt and be flexible, required characteristics of all successful expats, to be at home and make a home wherever we are."
    It is very hard to go back to anywhere (or any situation); as you comment things have always changed and more importantly our new experiences have shaped and developed us too. We are not who we were.
    Where we come from will always feel "safe" particularly with our native language, places which are familiar and the close proximity of family and friends. However I have experienced being viewed differently when I visit my old home (mainly friends and family who don't quite get the "why" of living abroad).
    My own feeling is that once you become an expat you are in for a serial life of being an expat!