Tuesday, 25 February 2014

expat/repat

I can't complain much about my life. I'm living at home (rent-free, I might add), planning a wedding, and spending time with my family. The awkwardness of being here for less than four months makes a part-time job nonsensical, but that leaves me with a lot of spare time on my hands. This is my first year out of school ever, which sort of throws me for a loop in terms of what to do with my brain. 
I'm filling my schedule with books, running, planning, and visiting with friends, but all of that can't quite cover up the gorge I seem to be straddling.

It's sort of a ghost feeling in that I'm between two worlds, two lives. On the one hand, it's been frighteningly easy to fall back into American life. If it weren't for the ring on my left hand and the absence of my man, I could just as well be on summer vacation from college. Lots of my friends are still kicking about the area, my car is still in the driveway (for now), and life doesn't seem to have changed much in our house. 
But when I pull my car out of the driveway, I sometimes find myself momentarily confused as to which side of the road I should be using. My friends have evolved into full-fledged grownups which is as exciting as it is worrying. My kid brother is off at college and there are no longer Labradors lounging on the back porch. As much as it feels like nothing has changed, it's not true. And here I am, in this holding pattern between my old life and the new one waiting for me across the Atlantic.


I love being in Florida, but I miss Scotland. I miss my FiancĂ©--he'll be here in 51 days, if you were wondering--but I also miss the country I've chosen as home. Some days I'd give just about anything to stand at the top of the hill by the University and look down over Glasgow. Or to pop over to Ashton Lane for a drink with my man. Or to stroll down Buchanan Street with friends who have moved away. When I studied abroad, they always talked about culture shock. Culture shock is no joke. One day you love where you are, and the next you're in the grocery store fighting back tears over Oreos. But I've always found that reverse culture shock--when you go home and have to re-settle into your old life--is so much more challenging. 

I won't be home long enough to really settle back in. I guess that by the time reverse culture shock sets in, I'll be packing my suitcase again. Will I have culture shock a second time in Scotland? I don't know. I hope not. It's strange, though, this temporary repatriation. I'm simultaneously trying to absorb every Floridian thing I can and wishing I could speed up time and be married already. 
This is the life of an expat/repat/re-expat. It's a confusing one, but it's a good one. Here's to the next four months--and to the rest of my beautiful, messy, international life.

(from The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chbosky, photo source unknown)


xo

7 comments:

  1. Hi! (I've been a follower on twitter but am just now finding your blog). Four months is an awkward time and I can totally relate to the "holding pattern" feeling. When I was in a similar situation it was only waiting for a job to begin and not a whole new life and marriage so I can't imagine how anxious you must be to get started. In some ways, being a home after having been away can feel like playing pretend, can't it? I'm sure the wedding planning and transatlantic move will keep you on your toes. Best wishes!

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  2. jessies_personal_secretary28 February 2014 at 16:10

    I have walked through some of this with my sister. When I visited her and saw her beautiful life abroad, I understood why she felt more at "home" in her new location instead of the place where we shared the everyday in growing up years. Definitely a lot of mixed emotions! So happy to soak up some time with you while we're both in Florida!

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  3. It's so great of you to stop by. :) Glad that twitter account is doing its job, haha!
    Playing pretend is exactly what it feels like! I feel like I'm giving everyone the side-eye and waiting for them to drop the act. A new job is stressful, too, and a holding pattern only makes things worse. Isn't it weird how once you know something is going to change, you almost want it to happen sooner so you can stop freaking yourself out about it?

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  4. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to be in such a foreign culture. I'm lucky in that the UK hasn't been a hard adapting process. Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow, friend!! :)

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  5. I've been a repat for exactly one week now and I'm feeling all sorts of emotions... happiness, comfort, confusion, sadness... it's all a bit much. I guess we just have to take it day by day and except that it's all part and parcel in this whole expat journey :)

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  6. Bahhhh it is SUCH a mixed bag. But unfortunately not the candy mixed bag where you still get to pick all delicious things...
    It's not an easy thing to do, but it definitely forces you to grow and adapt. It's a crazy, jumbled-up life, but such a good one. :) Wishing you lots of luck and peace as you adjust to your repat life!

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  7. I hope I can adjust as well. I just moved to Glasgow to live with my husband and that quote you have there made me cry, because I feel that all the time. Im so happy to be married and living with my husband and I love Scotland, but I am finding it REALLY frustrating to adjust. Understanding people is a biggie. Looking for a job and applying is frustrating. Not having a license is frustrating, but being terrified of driving here doesn't help. I only have a few friends here so it's turned out to be an extremely lonely two months so far. I'm hanging in there, but uprooting yourself is really, really tough to do in a strange place!

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Thanks for taking the time to comment! It's well and truly appreciated. :)

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