Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What do you miss about Home?

Initially there is the interview, the prospect of something new on the horizon, the excitement of travel, of the unknown. There is a flutter of energy that embraces the family as possessions are sold or stored, clothes and personal belongings are packed and plans are made to travel to this new and exciting foreign destination.

You can feel the anticipation in the air, it travels with you on the plane, steps out onto the tarmac and into the airport.  Your expectations are high as you get whisked away by the new companies driver to the hotel where you will reside for the next few weeks until a home is found, furniture is bought or your container arrives, working visas are completed and work life begins.

That first day of work arrives, that sensation of your first job resurfaces, you feel nervous and anxious and slowly settle into the new culture, the language barrier, the new hours, the new colleagues, the new work load, everything that feels not as familiar as before.

Your family settle into their new schools, new friends, new home and that initial excitement of the unknown starts to settle over everyone.  Then one day a family member falls ill, you need to find a doctor fast and you need to find someone who has the know how to help you out.  This is when you start to experience that little twinge of the unknown, the unfamiliar, the nervousness returns and that feeling of wanting the familiarity of home becomes the strongest.

Missing home comes in all shapes and sizes, it just depends on what you are experiencing at that specific moment.  The family doctor that has your child's history from when they were born and would know what to do with her immediately.  Your Mom or Dad, Sister or Brother, your best friend who you spend Christmas, birthdays, Easter, anniversaries or holiday's with. The emotional tags that make you who you are.

The grocery store down the road that has your specific brand of cereal.  The local cinema, mall, clothing brand, toothpaste, what do you miss from home?

For me it is family, friends and the things that I am accustomed to, which doctor or dentist to go to, which social club suites my needs, my restaurants, my old very familiar life.

These emotions can waiver depending on the situation, mostly we as expats are constant.  The decision to leave our comfort zone was informed and mutually agreed upon, so often we need to consider those moments when we are at our lowest and missing home the most and reassess why the decision to become an expat was made.  Then spur ourselves on to incorporate a few home essentials into our daily lives.  A call to the person we are missing, a call to our local doctor for some advice, a trip down the road to that friend that may have good advice on how to handle the situation or which doctor would be the wisest choice.

I am not suggesting that the feeling of missing home will dissolve never to be reignited again, but it may just help hat little bit to make it more bearable.

Denise is an Expat, Mom, Wife and Marketing Manager at  http://www.xpatulator.com/ a website that provides cost of living index information and calculates what you need to earn in a different location to compensate for cost of living, hardship, and exchange rate differences. The complete cost of living rank for all 300 locations for all 13 baskets is available here.

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