So your amazing year abroad has inevitably come to an end and you’re on the plane heading back to your own country. You hit home turf and you wheel your luggage out to where your family and friends are eagerly awaiting and all too suddenly it hits you. You’re back.
You’re back…but are you really home?
In some ways it feels like you never left and in others it seems like you’ve been away forever. Here are some things I noticed about The Return:
1. It will be nice to have your old room back (even if your parents had used it as an extra storage room while you were gone).
2. You’ll notice tiny things that are different about your house/neighbourhood/city etc. (Hey! Mum bought a new bath mat!)
3. Home comforts like Mum’s cooking and your old bed will be amazing. (Hello jet lag cures!)
4. When you open the fridge you will be shocked to find it fully stocked with edible things.
5. You will be on your friends’ “Priority to see/catch up with” list for about a week or two.
6. Most of your friends will only ask you one question upon your return: “How was (insert country name here)?!”
7. After answering that close-ended question with a one word answer, said friends will probably not ask you much else about your trip.
8. For the first few weeks of being back, you will carry a camera around everywhere, just in case ‘something interesting happens’.
9. You will not understand any of your friends’ in jokes or internet slang. (Um, what did you just say?)
10. Your time away will start feeling surreal. Like a dream that didn’t actually happen.
11. You will be a whole lot more interested in exchange/international students at your university and make friends with them.
12. You’ll feel Reverse Culture Shock with the people and cultural customs of your country.
13. The loneliness of not completely fitting in back at home will haunt you.
14. You will use Skype. A lot.
15. A decent chunk of your heart will still be back where you left it in your host country…and there’s no getting it back.
16. You will wonder if any of your overseas friends are feeling the same way being back in their home countries.
17. Missing your host country’s food/culture/lifestyle will be an everyday struggle.
18. You’ll remember your trip with rose tinted glasses and forget about all the bad/hard times you endured there.
19. Looking through photos from your trip and of your overseas friends will be extremely bittersweet.
20. Every time you see friends’ travel pictures on Facebook, you’ll turn green with envy, but click ‘Like’ anyway.
21. You’ll feel like you’re not doing anything interesting/adventurous with your life now that you’re back.
22. Once the novelty of being home again starts to wear off, you will start remembering why you wanted to leave in the first place.
23. You’ll start planning your next trip away immediately – probably to see your friends overseas!
Is there anything I missed off the list? How did you feel when you came back home after being away in another country?