What Coming Home Looks Like

Have you ever wondered what coming home after living abroad would be like? Have you wondered if the world back home will have kept on moving and changing without you, making it hard for you to slip back into your place among your family and friends? Have you wondered if you’ll have changed too much, or if other people will have changed too much, if everything will be totally different, or if everything will be exactly the same? Those are the kinds of things many people living abroad worry about, and that included me. I remember a couple of years ago when one of my best friends was moving back to the U.S. after nearly four years of living abroad, and shortly before she arrived home she said to me “I’m nervous.” I laughed at that. Nervous? Why? It’s just us. But on our last plane out of Asia, I anxiously jiggled my foot and stared out the window, and I understood. What if everything had changed? What if we no longer fit into our old lives?

Those nerves dissipated the second I laid eyes on our friends who were picking us up from the airport. Of course it would be okay. Of course everyone would be happy to have us back, and us them. Coming home is like finding your favorite pair of worn in jeans in the back of your closet, slipping them on, and realizing they still fit great and you still love them. It was comfortable, and comforting.

We’ve been home for a little over three months now, through Christmas and New Years and countless birthdays, and although it’s not the same as wandering through ancient temples or sunning ourselves on picture-perfect beaches, it’s been pretty special too. Here’s a little look at what coming home has looked like for us.

 FAMILY.

Andrea with Grandma Barb

Andrea's cousin's Christy and Olivia

Andrea's sister and brother-in-law to be

Family on Christmas

Andrea's family's cat

Andrea's parents on Christmas morning

Andrea's extended family on Christmas day

Matt with nephew and dog

Our nephews

Matt with nephew

Matt's brother

Nephew's birthday

Matt's sister reffing basketball

Friends.

Friends 1

Andrea with friends

Andrea with friends on NYE

Matt and friend on NYE

Andrea and friends on NYE 2

Matt and Andrew on NYE

Friends on NYE

Andrea and friends making faces on NYE

Andrea and Matt NYE 1

Andrea and Matt NYE 2

Andrea and Matt NYE 3

Home.

Andrea's family's house in Spokane

Snowy Spokane

Snowy Spokane River

Snowy stairs in Spokane

Mountain pass in WA state

Seattle Pikes Place Market sign

View of Seattle

View of Seattle 2

If you’ve ever lived or traveled abroad for an extended period of time, how did you feel about coming home? 

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8 Responses to “What Coming Home Looks Like”

  1. Vanessa April 18, 2013 at 8:12 am #

    Loved this! Lately I’ve been thinking about our “coming home” time–4.5 more months to go. In my dreams it’s always a nightmare (“No more bibimbap?! NOOO!!!”), but I know that the reality of being back with comfort and family is anything but a nightmare. It all depends on your attitude and doing what you love to do–whatever that might be. :)
    Vanessa recently posted…8 Lessons I’ve Learned From Being A Teacher In KoreaMy Profile

    • Andrea April 18, 2013 at 10:37 am #

      Thank you! Once we were back, we were so glad we had made the decision to return (instead of continuing to travel). The little moments seeing my grandmothers, playing with friends babies and catching up with friends are so precious after missing out on all that stuff for more than a year. Plus, depending on where you live, you might still be able to get plenty of bibimbap :) I have been shocked by how many random Korean signs I see around town now and how many Korean restaurants appear to be popping up everywhere!

  2. H-J April 18, 2013 at 6:59 pm #

    Everytime we go home after an extended period of time its amazing how much nothing has really changed and how quickly it feels like you’ve never been away! Its hard to get your head around but its also comforting that no matter how long you leave home for, it will still always be ‘home’ if you want it to be :)
    H-J recently posted…Magic and Monkeys in PushkarMy Profile

    • Andrea April 18, 2013 at 11:54 pm #

      It’s true, it’s so nice to come home and feel welcome! As soon as I see people/go places back home, it kind of feels like I never left. In a good way :)

  3. C Ohara April 24, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    Coming home feels pretty good, eh? :)
    C Ohara recently posted…That Web Comic Looking for Feedback – CDC5My Profile

    • Andrea April 25, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

      It feels great! I love being able to jump into the car and go see friends and family on a whim, that is an amazing feeling :)

  4. Audrey | That Backpacker May 2, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

    Aw, that looks like a wonderful homecoming! Makes me miss my home a little. :)

    • Andrea May 3, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

      It was lovely! I’m sure yours will be awesome too :) How long are you guys planning on traveling?

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