I hate that ‘go home’ is my default setting.

Home is where the heart is

A bit of a rant, but I think an important one to put out there. When you are an expat and things aren’t going according to plan the default setting in your brain is ‘move home’. It could be a grumpy day at work, flat issues (what the hell is it with landlords selling your flat from under you!) or even just the 14th day of rain in a row. Something in that little ‘grass is always greener’ part of your brain goes “well I could always book a flight home”. That’s the equivalent of throwing your perfect coffee at someone because the poached eggs were a little overcooked …oh wait I’ve done that #brunchrage.

I love London. In my head it’s a living person that I argue with, complain about and love with all the fierce protectiveness that I can summon up. But that does not mean that it is perfect, I just have to remember that its perfect for me. It will be hard, there will be days where I am just fed up with all of it…but those days would happen no matter what city I was living in.

In a way it comes down to percentages. I am happy in London 95% of the time, which means that there is that 5% that makes me want to stab someone and fly home. But should I really swap that 95% happiness for somewhere that would only make me 60% happy? No. That math just don’t work. But parts of me would be happy back home, which is why that default setting exists.

It is easy in a way to ignore this little demon part of me, the cheapest one way flight I could find for tomorrow is £620 – excuse me while I fall off my cafe chair laughing at being able to afford that. But I think its something that it is easier to recognise, to get out in the open (/to blog about) and move on from – particularly when its a feeling that is there for most expats.

We have chosen to live in these foreign cities. To have language barriers. To be confused by exchange rates. To live apart from family. To pay rent that will mean never owning a house. To live a life without cats. We have chosen because overall it is a better place to be you.

Now if only I can remember that when I’m having a bad day…


Author: runawaykiwi

17 thoughts on “I hate that ‘go home’ is my default setting.

  1. I completely understand your feelings. I’m not an expat but I’m living pretty far from home, a 10-hour flight. Whenever I do go home, I feel like I am reminded of why I left, why I don’t want to live there anymore. So when I am feeling homesick, I try to remember that while it is comforting to know that I could go home, I really don’t want to!

    1. It’s almost like you need to keep a ‘this is why I left’ list for those days

  2. I can completely relate, we were the ones who chose this consciously with all the things that come with it but sometimes it gets so rough. That’s why they probably say that if it were easy, everybody would do it no?

    1. Exactly! And it’s because it was my own choice that makes it so hard I think?

  3. I know exactly what you mean – sometimes it seems like that 5% massively outweighs the other 95%, but I just need to remember those beautiful blue sky London days that make everything right with the world again!

    1. That 5% can seem to stretch over months sometimes, I think the 95% is more faith then anything.

  4. I don’t know what else to say to this other than YES!!!!!! You put into words everything I was feeling this week. Re: your situation, London is a crap place to feel homesick in, but a bloody wonderful place to be when life is awesome so ride it out! Lots of expat love, Polly xx

  5. Hey, I’m British and used to live abroad. I came back to the UK last summer and actually find it very frustrating here, so I don’t blame you at all. There is “stage 2 culture shock” where you really dislike the new country you’re living in, which is what you may experience on the 5% days, but I think the quality of life here (even more so in London) is pretty poor compared to other countries. My default right now is “move abroad again”. I’m thinking maybe Holland.

    1. It’s hard because moving home is the same level of culture shock but without the ‘exciting newness’ that got you through the first one. Let me know how your Holland adventure goes!

  6. I think it’s a natural setting within all if us to reset our lives to some sort of default in time and space.

    One solution is to anchor the feeling of being back home into another activity. Train yourself to associate a particular piece of cake with a memory of back home or perhaps a particular song that recreates a memory of Australia where you grew up there.

    By practicing this technique you should be able to escape back home whenever you need to through sensory stimuli.

    Sounds weird, I know but this is based on NLP (neuro linguistic programming) techniques.

    And if it doesn’t work, try reading back through your blog entries from the past to remember why you live it so much here in London. It’s for those very same reasons that your blog readers and Twitter followers live reading your updates!

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