FIVE Reasons to Come Home After Living Abroad
Imagine you are me. You left the comfort of your home country, to move to a land that was foreign, but not too foreign. You are half-Korean so naturally you want to see your mother’s country and an opportunity to feed your wanderlust has been made available to you. So you take it. You spend the next four years working as an English teacher and embracing a culture that feels like a second home. You feel like you are never going to leave, but life nags at you. Something needs to be done. So here is a list of reasons you should return home after living abroad (and not just because you are “homesick”).
You Miss Your Friends:
You probably made some friends in the foreign country you lived in, but nothing beats the friends you made back home. Decades of stories and laughs from people you chose as your second family. To be able to hang out at your favorite bar or to experience a show with your best friends is a great reason to come back to your homeland.
2. The Food Isn’t The Same:
If you are like me, hungry is an emotion. I traveled parts of Asia and South East Asia, eaten many different delicacies and have added new foods to my list of favorites, but some foods you can’t get overseas. I can’t tell you how many nights I dreamt about eating Chipotle or getting sad seeing pictures of barbeque food on Instagram. Foods I grew up eating, food I always had access to were suddenly nowhere to be seen in South Korea. Coming home with the smell of my sister’s pasta cooking on the stove, literally, brought tears to my eyes. Food unlocks memories of good times had with loved ones and you want to get those feelings back.
3. You Have Been Unlucky In The Dating Scene:
You had this idea of having an expat fling while travelling. You went on a few dates, but it always came down to one of two things; language barrier or stereotyping. The language barrier you knew would be a problem, so you tried to date guys you met at language exchange or in friend circles, who studied English in school. The one thing you didn’t count on was many of these guys you met thought that because you’re American, you are easy. They have this idea because of American movies (thanks Hollywood). So you decide to be single and focus on yourself. But it’s been four years and you miss getting to know someone new. The dating culture overseas doesn’t match your style and you’re ready to get back out there on your own turf.
4. Your Family Misses You:
You have been gone so long that they are always surprised when you skype. You’ve changed so much, they’ve changed so much. They’re happy you’re safe. They see you’re doing well from your social media, but things are happening back home and you’re missing out. Your niece is now 22 and living on her own. Your brother moved to St. Thomas for work. Your sister has a new boyfriend. Your mom is working too hard and you worry about her. Your dad is busy taking care of your grandma. Going home means not missing out. Going home means being there for the people who need you. And it couldn’t be better timing because…
5. Your Mom Was Diagnosed With ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis):
Because besides the Ice Bucket Challenge of 2014 and that movie with Hilary Swank and Emmy Rossum, you have no idea what ALS entails. So you research and cry. You buy a book off Amazon and study it like the bible. You scour the internet for case studies and clinical trials hoping that maybe they’re closer to a cure. You think about the bad things that will come and try to smile through your day. You think of the last time you saw your mom, did you fight? Did you tell her you loved her? You wonder if the world is punishing you for leaving her behind. You know it doesn’t make sense but it plays like a broken record of negative thoughts in your head. You tell your boss that you’re leaving at the end of your contract, you pack up five boxes to ship home, and you cry when your students write cards and notes. You fly back home and cry with your family.
Imagine you are me and you love your mom very much. You come home and you’re scared for what the future holds. The only thing that makes it worth it is at night, when you and your sister have put your mom to bed and you’re massaging her to sleep. She makes jokes and everyone laughs together. You no longer feel that wanderlust that led you abroad. You can’t imagine being anywhere else than in your home country, holding your mom’s hand.