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