I recently wrote a post called The Expat Dilemma that seemed to resonate with several other expats. We’re an interesting group us expats–we debate where home is (if we have one at all), we teeter on the line between outsider and local, we bond over the idiosyncrasies of our adopted cultures, the things we miss back “home”, and try our darndest to steer clear of the “grass is always greener” mindset.
The Expat Dilemma that I wrote of is, essentially, this quote in more words. We want a life that seems to evade us. We want to be here AND there. We feel the heaviness of homesickness, we miss birthdays and life-long friends’ weddings and holidays with the fam–but pluck us from our expat life and put us back home, and we’ll be feeling stir-crazy and craving our next adventure in no time.
My question is; does an expat ever stop feeling “a nostalgia for the familiar and the urge for the foreign and strange” as Carson McCullers suggests, or are we constantly in limbo between the two?
I say yes to being in limbo.
I know that as long as I’m in Spain, I’ll be nostalgic for home, despite the fact that the longer I’m here the less “familiar” home is. I also know that as much as I was born with roots, I was born with wings and my wanderlust will never subside. Whether I’m appreciating a new culture within a country (like I’m doing now with the recent move) or acquainting myself with a new culture entirely, I’ll always, always, always crave what’s foreign.
Expats, what do you think? Non-expats, can you relate to this quote?