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Where is home?

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Fortan
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Where is home?

Postby Fortan » Fri, 27 Jun 2014 2:23 pm

I am so frustrated these days. Not quite sure how to deal with it, so I thought I'd share my thoughts with you guys, as some of you might be feel the same.

I have been living outside my home country the last 8 years. Been living in several different countries. Originally from the north of Europe, then moved to Asia, then moved around within Asia, back to Europe for a short while and now I have been back a little more than a year.

When I moved back to Europe, I was really looking forward to it. After about a year I started missing Asia like crazy, so I opted to go for a job offer that took me back here. Now I have been here for a year and a bit and blimey, I have started missing Europe again. It is almost like I can't settle down anywhere without having my head firmly set on going somewhere else. Rootless.... It is kind of annoying me, as I don't really know how to deal with it. Constant thoughts of should I go - or should I stay (reminds me of a song)..... I haven't been living in my home country since back in 2007 and I am even considering whether to go back there, to find my roots again. Luckily it seems there are jobs enough around for my profession, so I am lucky in that way..... just about finding out what the hell to do and where to go....

Anyone else feel like this?

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Postby AngMoG » Fri, 27 Jun 2014 2:46 pm

Well, as it so happens, I have lived outside my home country since 2007 as well. Though I haven't moved around much, just Singapore and now Manila.

I think, constant moving would also leave me confused. If you want to feel at home (somewhat), you need to sink some roots. For me, it was a conscious rational decision more than an emotional one. Accept any negatives, and enjoy the positives.

Also what helps, I guess, is someone you love... :P

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Postby Beeroclock » Fri, 27 Jun 2014 3:23 pm

Yes I struggle with this too. Some people are under a misconception that the "expat" lifestyle is all roses. There are downsides that come with it. You miss out on a lot of family stuff and lose touch with your dearest friends (primary school/etc). And you can feel kind of stateless/nomadic, which is not for everyone and can be quite destabilizing/unsettling. When you're a parent you need to think of your kids too, how do you want to raise them and what country/place/culture will be a base for their identity and growth.

Of course there a lots of upsides too, hence the reason we all decided to do it in the first place, but non-expat and early expats can easily forget some of these downsides that might weigh more heavily on long-term expats. I've been away from home country for >12 years now.

I don't have any answer. Just to also remember the positives/benefits of the choice made and provided the pros still outweigh the cons, re-commit yourself to this choice and making the most of it. But if your bogged down by the cons most days, then it's probably time to reassess and plan for a change.

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Postby Barnsley » Fri, 27 Jun 2014 4:23 pm

To quote the great Paul Young

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ju_a2-Pve4g
Life is short, paddle harder!!

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Postby beppi » Fri, 27 Jun 2014 5:05 pm

It takes a while initially to adapt to a new place (typically a few months), but I encountered exactly the same, twice, when returning to the country of my upbringing after years abroad.
Apart from these initial periods, I have been home for my entire 15 years abroad. After all, I decide where home is, not my parents any more!

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Postby the lynx » Fri, 27 Jun 2014 5:09 pm

I'm Coming Home

A very beautiful song about what home is.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 27 Jun 2014 5:38 pm

I've always tried to live by the old sayin' "home is wherever I hang my hat." But after 32 years here (11th of June), a property owner, with a local wife and two local children, I, somehow, still don't feel "at home". Probably has something to do with living in a city. I'm a country boy and will always be one I guess. :-|

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Postby rajagainstthemachine » Fri, 27 Jun 2014 6:15 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:I've always tried to live by the old sayin' "home is wherever I hang my hat." But after 32 years here (11th of June), a property owner, with a local wife and two local children, I, somehow, still don't feel "at home". Probably has something to do with living in a city. I'm a country boy and will always be one I guess. :-|



how many expat wives and children do you have? :lol:

back on topic: I haven't found a home yet, its still work in progress which never seems to end. Somehow I can't convince myself to think that I will live in one place for a long time, life is too short and the world is a big place and I must see as much as I can before I die!
To get there early is on time and showing up on time is late

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Postby JR8 » Fri, 27 Jun 2014 6:18 pm

I feel several parallels in this. I’ve done the whole ‘Home > away > new home > away, and back’ cycle twice now I think (plus one home > away > home move in between :)).

What I have found is a curious mixture of things, an at times (when you have had enough) huge desire to *just get home*, and back to the things you know, the ‘I’ve had enough of this **** phase’? Followed by, when you’re back home, a desperate desire to get away again and get the challenges, pay, birds, exotic food and travel etc, that you’ve just given up. You crave to get home, but when you do everything, and everyone just seems so flipping BORING!

[Talking about memes in popular songs > Boomtown Rats lyric ‘It’s a rat trap baby, and you’ve just been caught!’]

I don’t think the issue (well, at least for me) was necessarily missing Asia. Between my two Asia stints, I did a posting to the US. That ticked the box for me same as an Asia one, so it was (IME) more about getting away, getting the expat job/opportunity, more than where it was physically located. The new horizons.

I remember the first time I returned home from Asia. That really had been an insanely hard posting (routine 12+hr days/80hr weeks etc on the wrong-side of the time zone), and later I walked back into HQ back home and felt so different, so much ‘bigger’ than all my former colleagues would ever be, in their safe, cushy 9-5 jobs, but they perceived me no differently and weren’t in the slightest interested in my tales of distant lands, and I wasn’t interested in ‘slotting in’ to that blur/9-5/’Oh you know what, the cat managed to get locked out again last night!!?’ and ‘the bloody train was 10 minutes late AGAIN this morning!?’ [conversational highlight of the day]/blur/nothing framework...

Your horizons slowly get redrawn, and you don’t really realise until it’s happened, and it’s later sharply thrust right into your face when you revert to your home turf.

[Pt. 2 – Post-Posting - Dealing with feeling like you don’t actually ‘belong’ anywhere any more... hehehe]

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 27 Jun 2014 8:38 pm

JR8 wrote:
[Pt. 2 – Post-Posting - Dealing with feeling like you don’t actually ‘belong’ anywhere any more... hehehe]


Bingo.

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Postby Max Headroom » Fri, 27 Jun 2014 8:47 pm

I'm not sure if it's a good or a bad thing, but I can't say that I have a "home" as such. We moved from my country of birth when I was 6, so before I'd bonded with it any sort of way. Since then, I've lived a pretty nomadic life, straddling 4 continents.

None of the countries I've lived, I'd call home.

To me, home is more intangible I suppose. Home is any place I feel I fit in, where the weather, the people and the food agree with me. Pretty much in that order. The rest tends to fall into place eh.

I fit in here in Singapore and I'm rather comfortable here. But I reckon I could easily find a place in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand or Vietnam, where I'll feel as comfortable as I do here.

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Re: Where is home?

Postby zzm9980 » Sat, 28 Jun 2014 12:31 am

Fortan wrote:ear.

When I moved back to Europe, I was really looking forward to it. After about a year I started missing Asia like crazy, so I opted to go for a job offer that took me back here. Now I have been here for a year and a bit and blimey, I have started missing Europe again. It is almost like I can't settle down anywhere without having my head firmly set on going somewhere else. Rootless.... It is kind of annoying me, as I don't really know how to deal with it.
Anyone else feel like this?


Yes. Exactly this. I slowly built up a dislike for Singapore, and just recently moved back to the US. I've only been back for about five months now and don't want to be here. I find myself bitching about the things I can't get here, writing trashing reviews about local Singaporean/Malaysian restaraunts ("This isn't how rojak is supposed to taste! Their You Tiao is just chunks of bread, not even toasted!")

Wife and I are already thinking up longer term plans for returning. If not for unvested compensation at my current employer, we'd already be on our way back. Luckily finding a job isn't an issue for what I do.

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Postby zzm9980 » Sat, 28 Jun 2014 12:33 am

Beeroclock wrote:I don't have any answer. Just to also remember the positives/benefits of the choice made and provided the pros still outweigh the cons, re-commit yourself to this choice and making the most of it. But if your bogged down by the cons most days, then it's probably time to reassess and plan for a change.


More amazing advice. The second topic today with genuinely good advice (the other one topic just about general regrets). I do this most days, consider the positives of why I came back, the negatives of what I'm missing, and continually adjust my mid-term plan (financial, family, career, everything) to put myself on the trajectory to where I want to be in a few years without jumping at something (be it a whim or 'correcting a regret') that may cause more second guessing.

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zzm9980
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Postby zzm9980 » Sat, 28 Jun 2014 12:35 am

JR8 wrote:What I have found is a curious mixture of things, an at times (when you have had enough) huge desire to *just get home*, and back to the things you know, the ‘I’ve had enough of this **** phase’? Followed by, when you’re back home, a desperate desire to get away again and get the challenges, pay, birds, exotic food and travel etc, that you’ve just given up. You crave to get home, but when you do everything, and everyone just seems so flipping BORING!


Just quoting for emphasis and my own self realization. :D I'm in my first stage of Home -> Expat -> Home again and am going through all of this.

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Postby ginger_bread » Sat, 28 Jun 2014 2:27 am

I often ask myself the same question too.

I have been an expat for the last 15 years, having lived in three different countries in two continents outside home. I left home in my 20's single and am now in my late 30's married. In the past 2-3 years I have started feeling the need to really settle in one place, probably because I have children now, and I know this place is not Singapore. I do not feel that I can return to my home country and feel happy. The same for my husband's country because I have never lived there and my husband has been an expat too for 15+ years.

When I travel sometimes people ask me where I am from and I usually do not know how to answer this question. Shall I say Singapore or my birth country? I feel both do not best describe who I am. I feel worried about my children as they may not have an identity of who they are. They have a father from country A, a mother from country B, born in country C, growing up in countries C, D, E (and possibly more).

I have been considering the pros and cons of country F, one that seems to stand out among other options. My husband does not necessarily agree but he doesn't dislike it either. My husband could possibly find a job in country F though it will be less easy for me. I think the country could be a good place to raise our children and probably until we retire. After that I don't know. I know probably we will never integrate into their community due to language barrier and possibly other reasons, but I am used to this feeling. The problem is we have never lived in country F despite having visited the country, how can we be sure it would fit us as a family?

I feel we can't risk moving and trying different countries anymore. My children need to settle and so do we.


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