Going home for a holiday is a terrifying experience for any expat. Of course you want to hug your family and stock up on all the treats of your dark London dreams, but there is always that thought at the back of your mind wondering if you will like it. You will always get moments of home sickness, but you know there are reasons you are living on the other side of the world, that you are happy on the other side of the world. But what if, what if when you go home you like it more? What if its easy? What if you enjoy it too much? What if you want to move home?
It’s a scary prospect. There are not many times a holiday can change your life (excluding of course éclairs in Paris which are a religious experience), but as an expat there is a chance that going home could change everything. If you go home and discover that the grass is really greener you may end up altering the course of your life entirely and moving home. It’s a scary unknown mixed in with all that joy of seeing your family again and relief that everyone understands your accent.
Thankfully (I don’t think thankfully is the right word, but I can’t think of a better one) I didn’t feel the desire to move home. For me it was like stepping back into an old slipper, yes comfortable, warm and familiar but just not quite how you remember. I just didn’t quite fit.
This is such a hard post to write because it is such an undefinable feeling. Its not that New Zealand sucks and London is awesome. London is a really hard city to live in, and it is a place where you have to consciously forge your life because if you passively sit back you will just get carried away and feel alone. Its just that for right now New Zealand isn’t right for me.
I know that if I moved home and lived with my parents for a while my huge life dream of buying a house might be possible (its never going to happen in London). But living with my parents would be comfortable but not what I need. I need that challenge and to have to fend for myself (although right now I am close to actually hiring a hooker just for someone to make me a cup of tea after a hard days work).
The old slipper feeling became more evident the longer I was there. Friends back home are at a different pace, a different part of their lives. In London a casual conversation will cover everything from your next travel destination, the situation in Syria to matcha lattes. I found back home it was mostly about babies and houses. Not that there is anything wrong with that, its just that for where I am right now it feels like a small world view.
See hard post right? Its hard to say you don’t want to live somewhere without offending someone. When you first become an expat you are leaving for adventure and new horisons, but the longer you stay the more it is an active decision based on your previous home not being right for you.
As much as I feel some relief that I know my heart is in London, in a way it makes everything so much harder. I miss my parents and sister so much its like I’m missing a limb. And I know its going to be even harder than normal this year as my sister is getting married, such an important thing that I am going to miss all the fun planning and family times.
But the old slipper can’t be changed. Yes I could take the seriously easy decision to move back home and get my family back, but I know that it is not the way to happiness. London is.