Friday, May 9, 2014

The expat life: 2 years in the USA

Something strange has happened. Our two year point of living in the USA has come and gone almost 2 months ago and I hardly noticed. We've now been living in one place for the longest period since 2007 and for the first time in my life, I don't have the unstoppable urge to pack up and try a new country. I don't know whether to be relieved or terrified.

My heart still wants to wander; I miss traveling like we used to. We just don't have that luxury anymore. We can't drive or fly off on weekends away all over Europe like we once did. Travel in the USA has much bigger distances, higher costs, Mitch has far less holidays and well - we now have not one, but two kids. We're still pretty determined to get out there with them, but logistically - it's a little more challenging nowadays.

It's been a good 6+ months since I last posted my thoughts on the expat life here, and although I'll always fall into that expat category, I don't feel as foreign anymore, nor does life here. Heck, we now have a son who is an American CITIZEN. That's a crazy thought. Life in California feels normal. When we booked tickets to spend 5 weeks in Australia over Christmas, I had thought that it would make me antsy. Make me want to move back as soon before the littlest was even born. But you know, it didn't.

For the first time in the 4 years we've been gone, I felt like the foreigner in my home country. I loved being there and already can't wait for the next trip, but things looked ever so slightly different somehow. I felt like I was seeing once familiar places & spaces through the eyes of a tourist. Deep down, my feelings about where we want to be in the long term haven't changed. As much as our life here right now feels normal and settled, both Mitch and I want our boys to experience what it's like to grow up in Australia. Preferably, before the inevitable American accent that they will both have becomes permanent.

And since having Austin, I've been feeling more of a pull towards Australia. I'd love to be near my family. I'd love to hang out with my oldest friends again. I miss the Qld climate (not that I could complain about Cali weather - sunshine year round) and I miss the unique, Aussie sense of humor. In quiet moments, I find my mind entertaining the thought of moving back to Australia - mulling over the finer details of what would that situation look like. I can't linger for long though, because the job situation there is so dire. Mitch works in a very particular field; we really are in the best place for our family right now. But mostly, I couldn't imagine packing up and leaving our community here. My people.

This expat life can be confusing. I often feel torn between 2 worlds, but right now our life is here. Our community is here. Some of my absolute nearest and dearest friends are in the land down under, but I know that if we were to move back there tomorrow, it'd be like starting life in a new country again. I've never lived in Australia as a Mum; we've never experienced life there as a family instead of a working couple. It's something I want to do, but I'm not ready. Not yet. But I know that day will come.

When Mitch and I were first married, I never imagined this expat life would be our reality. It's not perfect. It can be frustrating. It's often challenging... But I wouldn't change it for the world. I can't wait to see what the next year has to offer with my best friend, our little Dutch boy and our Californian bear.

Life is busy, but life is pretty sweet :-)


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4 comments:

  1. As one who has been almost a gypsy all my life, I can sympathise with your restlessness. Now a widow, and having finally come "home" to a place where my husband and I both felt it to be just that after all our wanderings (life as an international business journalist's family is worse than being in the military, believe you me!) my advice to you is to try and live "for the moment" Enjoy California. keep in touch with Australia, and if and when the call home comes, then will be the right time. Best of luck anyway

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  2. You TOTALLY took the words out of my mouth when it comes to how I feel about home vs Cali. I'm glad we are here together.

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  3. I'm a military brat turned spouse, so moving is part of my life. Sadly, I haven't had the chance to live overseas. But I enjoy your views on America! It's so cool to read about my country from someone's perspective.

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  4. "Travel in the USA has much bigger distances, higher costs, Mitch has far less holidays and well" - that one sentence explains above all else why most Americans don't or can't travel much.

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Thanks for reading, your comments make my day :-)

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