And we are back. After a slightly extended Easter break from the blog, thanks to a great trip to the Peaks (plenty on that coming up!), a bonkers week spent with my sister, niece and nephews in deepest Hampshire, and two separate spectacular seventieth birthday celebrations for my parents… Finally, we (and I am talking about you blog) can now get back into some sort of routine…
It’s been a funny few weeks. Reverse culture shock (or a “period of readjustment” as I prefer to call it) , as I have recently discovered is very much a thing, and has probably affected myself and the Small Boy the most out of our tribe. Thus, a much-needed break from all things computer was deemed necessary to try to settle back in as much as possible. No break from Instagram though. I am well and truly addicted to that. And as I am usually snapping away anyway…
For all of the pining I did for the UK at various times during our lives away, to come back to a part of it (thanks to work) that I don’t actually have much of a clue about, have no real connection with, and which is, in all reality, miles and miles away from the friends and family we have missed the most, has not been the easiest. Of course, in the grand scheme of life it is a teeny tiny twit of a thing, but for any other recent repats going through the same, I think it only fair to tell it how it is, or at least how it can be (so you can just take those rose-tinted glasses off right now okay?)!
It’s hard to explain, but it feels quite surreal when everything seems familiar, but completely unfamiliar at the same time. I would even go so far as to say that a move to another foreign country may well have been an easier option at times. Here there’s no popping around the corner to see loved ones as per our previous UK life, no jumping in the car for a day out with friends when you now live miles away (and by the time you get somewhere, would have around ten minutes before having to drive back like a mad thing in time for the school run). And, I am not proud, but I have snapped at people who have said “you are closer than you were than when you lived in Munich” when travelling from Munich could possibly take less time door to door (especially when you take the M25 into consideration!). Anyway…
As much as it’s not been quite the homecoming I had envisaged, and there have been plenty of times I had wished we were still abroad where certain things can seem oddly more straight forward (like getting an emergency inhaler for a Small Boy suffering from a cat allergy when you are miles from your local doctors – definitely a case of computer said no!), as the weather has gradually improved (she typed, completely blocking out a day full of hail, sleet, and gusts of wind) and beautiful England gets gradually greener (and bluer – just look at these bluebells! I thought you would like them as a positive aspect in a rare not that brilliantly positive post from me. We didn’t get bluebells in Bavaria, or in Denmark!!), there’s still a part of me that’s 96% glad we are back at home. When I think back to family celebrations I missed out on that are now obviously more in reach, and the dinners with friends that we can now say yes to on a more regular minute basis (even if it does take 3 hours to get to them!), not to mention the fact that I no longer have to make a fool of myself on a daily basis with a foreign language, all of that is obviously really lovely, and of course, we don’t have to stay here forever, I am just looking forward to when I truly feel “back home”! As to whether we will up sticks (or rather when we will!) and/or move abroad again in the not too distant future – watch this space… Failing that, there’s always the bluebell pics!…
Non-moaning Peak District posts coming up…
Christie @ A Sausage Has Two says
I’m very pleased you’re back, hello! – but I’m really sorry it’s not been easy settling back in… though actually I can quite understand how. After seven years away I feel like a foreigner when I go back to visit, but in a very different way to feeling foreign living overseas. It’s difficult to put a finger on it but it’s so odd not understanding how things work at the post office, or wondering if I’ve made some kind of social faux pas talking to someone in the supermarket (especially since I am usually SO EXCITED to be in the supermarket). I feel totally alien there sometimes and though I’m used to feeling foreign, feeling like that in my own country makes me feel like a fraud or a secret alien robot or a spy or something. Chances are very slim we’ll ever get to go and live there again anyway though now… :( Anyway glad things are picking up for you, and would you LOOK AT THOSE BLUEBELLS!!
Thanks so much Christie, it’s been an incredibly surreal experience, but we are getting there slowly but surely. Bet you we get settled in and then the opportunity to move abroad will pop up again! I do miss Bavaria though, it’s such a beautiful place to live!
CLaire Toplis says
A beautifully honest post xx
Here is to the things getting easier
Thank you Claire. :)
I just stumbled upon your blog this morning, and I am going through the same thing! Only, I live in America, so instead of 3 hours away by car, it would take me an 18 hour drive to get “home” (whatever that is). My younger sister lives a six hour drive away from my parents’ house and goes back a few times a year. Thankfully, Denver is a travel hub and we plan on flying back this summer for my family reunion.
I lived in South Korea for 7 years. I spent just slightly more of my 20s there than I did at home. I have the same feelings about being a repat as you do. Starting a blog is actually helping me to process the experience of moving home. Being here is a lot like being in a foreign country, but I agree that it almost would’ve been easier to move to another foreign country! I also can’t shake that feeling of wanting to move abroad again. My boyfriend and I have settled pretty well here so far and both have good jobs, so I think we’ll wait a few years, but it is going to happen eventually. I’d like to get a masters in teaching and teach at an international school in Europe or anywhere else really, but for now I’ll just try to enjoy being home. I hope you have an easy time adjusting from here on out!
Thanks so much for commenting Marina. I hope things get easier for you too, and good luck with the blog. I find that really helps, and if it doesn’t help me, then hopefully it usually helps someone else going through the same thing – which actually does help me! :D I hear you on the wanting to move abroad again as soon as possible thing as well, but like you, I am going to try and enjoy being home for now. Good luck with the masters! :)
Thanks! I haven’t even written about my feelings about being home or leaving Korea yet, but it has given me a new outlook on being back in America. It’s helping me to stay positive and look for the best. I also just realized that I do see America as a foreign country in many ways.
It’s such an odd feeling isn’t it? I really assumed that I would come back and everything would just feel entirely normal, but it really doesn’t. There are so many things that I think “that could be done so much better if you just…” but luckily there are lots of things I think “gosh I have missed that” to balance it out! :)
Jumble Tree says
It’s not easy what you’re doing, and on top of that it’s frustrating being in the same country as friends and family but nowhere near! Sometimes more frustrating than being a flight away I think. It’s nearly quicker for me to fly to Northern Ireland than drive to see my sister on the other side of the country in Norwich. Would love to see her more, but there never seems to be enough time.
Looking at your lovely Instagram pictures, I was also thinking it must be hard moving somewhere relatively flat after all those magnificent mountains? xx
I had decent flat country training in Copenhagen thankfully, but yes, it does take some getting used to! And thank you, it’s really really frustrating. I could kind of make sense of the plane journey, but not being able to jump in a car or walk up the road to see people in a decent amount of time is ridiculous! :D xx
also, Peak District please… am keen to know more your adventures in somewhere familiar to me.
First post up! It seems my writers block stint is over! :D x
From personal experience, any big move is tricky. I think we set ourselves up and assume it will all be easier than it is. Whereas in a foreign country, you expect things to be harder.
Give yourself lots of time and cake.
It’s not you, it’s everything and everyone else. X
Thanks so much Gemma. I know you found it tough at first. x
That is so true and what I said about moving home. You expect the loneliness and the hurdles in a foreign country, but when you go home you feel that everything should be easy and should feel normal.
I completely didn’t expect the hurdles to feel as high as often do! :)
Bex Jenkins says
Can identify with all of this! We are ‘home’ after 15 years away but living in a in a totally new part of the country with no connections for either of us. We see family more often than when we were in Oz but still. I cried the other day (whilst pregnant and hormonal) as I drove into my parents’ village as I felt like I was home – but we live an hour away! Six months in it is getting easier but it’s the settling in/finding a routine/getting on people’s social radar again is incredibly hard work and can make expat life seem easy at times!
Thanks so much Bex. Your comment really helps. It’s blinking tough isn’t it. People automatically expect you to fit right back in, but after such a long time away. I hope things improve for you soon too (15 years is massive!) x
Trish @ Mum's Gone To says
Let’s try and have another meet-up soon. Maybe we could pick somewhere half way between us? Will look at the map and think of somewhere. xxxx
That would be really lovely! Let’s do that soon! :) xxxx
Rachel @ The Ordinary Lovely says
Oh gosh, this reminds me how lucky we were to move back to the next village along from friends and family. It was definitely easier for us having everyone on our doorstep … although, some of the people that moaned the most about us living so far away in Zurich are oddly enough the ones that don’t bother to visit us now we’re mere minutes away. Go figure!! I hope it gets easier for you. I’m sure spring in the UK will win you over when it gets that touch warmer.
Thank you. I think other people that have moved back truly understand. Moving somewhere purely for work that we have no connection with has been a lot tougher than I thought it would be. It’s almost like moving to a new country, just with English!! xx
Cass Bailey says
I can totally see why it’s not as easy as it might sound to come home, especially if you’re not as close to your family and friends as you have been in the past x x
Thank you Cass. xx
Midlife Singlemum says
You wrote this post for me didn’t you. Thanks, I needed to hear this. Btw, how much do you want to bet that you make really close friends in and around Cambridge so that you won’t want to move away so quickly in a few years time?
That may well be the case. It’s the kind of thing that usually happens! :D Thank you x
Eat Explore Etc says
Your photographs are beautiful. I’m very glad you didn’t give up on Instagram.
I don’t think people understand how difficult it might be when moving from somewhere ‘foreign’ that you’ve enjoyed living. To them it’s just ‘coming back home’ and the Munich comments fall into a ‘well intentioned but actually a bit insensitive’ category. It doesn’t make it any easier, I’m sure. Snapping is understandable.
I actually think the prospect of moving abroad again is a positive one! I’d love to try living somewhere else, but unfortunately I don’t see it being a possible future for me. When we’re done here in Munich, somewhere in the second half of this year most likely, I think that’s it. Sad thought really and I’m not looking forward to being back in the UK!
Ahhh but at least I have your beautiful photographs to look at! Looking forward to hearing about the Peak District! :)
Thank you so much for your lovely comment. It’s so blinking weird. Most people think you should just be happy to be back, but when you are stuck somewhere you have absolutely no connection with it’s harder than I thought it ever could be! I think it would have been easier to just go back to where we lived previously, but having lived abroad now for seven years who knows, that might have been tough too! Oh well, onwards and upwards. I know what’s going to happen. We will move somewhere we love, and have friends and family nearby, and then an abroad option will pop up again. Love your Munich posts. :) x
Eline @ Emmy + LIEN says
Oh love, you’re not moaning. Reverse culture shock is most certainly real and not easy to deal with. Especially because everyone else seems to expect that it is. I think every move takes a year, and I don’t see why going “back ” should be any different. Be kind to yourself, and snap away – I miss the bluebells!
Thanks so much Eline. I think other expats truly get it! x
So glad you are writing again xxx
Thank you my love xx
We’re pleased you’re back xx
And family and friends make it worth being back. xx
A very honest post. I think I just assumed it would be like coming home but you’re not really “home” as you’re still so far from family and friends. Hopefully it will get easier, like another family adventure. Your bluebell pics are stunning.
Thanks so much Tara. Glad you like the bluebells! :)
Mary @AsturianDiary says
I can just imagine the discombobulation of a move ‘home’ after so many years abroad. Hang in there – as ever, it will get easier! xx
Thank you. Hopefully – it’s all just a bit weird! :D xx
Elinor Hill aka Beach Hut Cook says
when I came back to uk I felt similarly but the one thing that would pick me up was not having to pre think how I was going to ask for something in a foreign language before I got there!! That and being able to chit-chat!! Elinor x
That is definitely a huge bonus. Although I will admit to accidentally speaking German on more than one occasion! xx