Happy Abroad: for everyone who wants to live happily abroad!

Posts tagged ‘moments’

Coming back home: happy moments or just another cultural shock?

You live abroad and time to time you come back to your “home” country (i.e. a place where you grew up, where your family lives) to visit your family, friends. Even if you were not born there, you have spent there quite an important part of your life/childhood; thus part of yourself is always there. For me this “special place” is Riga, Latvia. Here is the scenario, which usually happens when I go back “home”[1], may be you will find there some patterns, which you also have:

First day: everything is great! You see your beloved ones, give gifts, see how surroundings have changed since your last visit. It is lovely to see all these people, places.

Second day: first disagreements arise. For example, my family tends to eat meals at weird times for me – the time which is too early or too late; their morning and evening habits are different from mine and different from the ones I used to have when I lived in Latvia. One of biggest tortures for me is the TV: my family spends most of their evenings watching TV, which means that if I want to spend some time with them, then I have to watch TV. During the first days it’s a real torture (taking into account that usually I do not watch TV).

Third day: meet other people, friends. Most of them complain about local life, they think that they live almost in the worst place in the world. Oh dear! If they ever knew that this place is actually quite nice. They just do not know how to value the things which they have, as they seem to be obvious for them. For example, Italians start to value good, sunny weather mainly when they move abroad.  I realized how clean, organized Latvia is only when I lived in other places (Western European countries, by the way).

Further days: you get used to live in a “new” environment, life stabilizes. And here are two options of further scenario:

  1. you either start missing the place where you live (your “new” homeland) or
  2. you feel so good staying with your family, old friends, that you do not want to return.

For instance, I sometimes miss Italian pasta, miss a possibility to have long walks in the city (it’s not that in Riga people do not walk, it’s just not very common due to not very nice weather), I miss emotionality of people – in Latvia even my closest friends hug only at big celebrations, such as a Birthday party or a Wedding. Thus feelings of “miss” exist, but not every time. For example, during my last visit to Riga in April, I was pretty happy, I guess it was because I stayed the right amount of time – not too short, not too long. Is it possible to stay “too long”? I believe yes, as when you visit your “old home” you are travelling, you are not into everyday routine. How long is it possible to stay out of routine (i.e. not studying, not working, not doing the activities you usually do)? I think not too long, unless you decide to stay longer and develop your new routine.

So tell me, have you ever experienced a shock when you visited your “home” country, visited your family and childhood friends? Or may be you are always happy? Did you want to come back as soon as possible to your “new” home? (I did…)

[1] In this article I can call this place “fatherland/homeland”, but for me “home” now is more the place where I am living at the moment.