This is the time of the year…..again…. For years and years the same thing is happening. FAREWELL!!! People I have known for the last two or three years are leaving. Parties, presents and lots of tears. I don’t really now why I am doing this over and over again. Oh no, I know why but its hard. It is hard to see them leave and starting all over again. Finding new friends, mostly really good friends and then say good-bye.
But what about them? They are the ones leaving and starting all over again. Starting in a country where they are expected to fit in because it is their home country. Repatriation it is called by the companies. What about the experiences no one wants to hear for more than two days? Three years in a different country, where people think differently, where people have different values, where things are right which are wrong in their own country. And what about all the new people they met, the new cultural experiences they made? For most of my friends it takes up to a year to resettle back home. Culture shock in reverse it calls!!! They experience almost exactly the same feelings, ups and downs as they did when they started their journeys away from home. First they are excited to be back home, but soon they start to compare. All of the sudden things they always liked at home are annoying and people start to glorify the country they lived in for the past years. It is common to come back home and having really bad times. I would even say it is pretty normal. The last years need to be digested and this is not happening over night.
So, I have two messages, first to all the people who are returning home after their adventures: Be patient with yourself and others. The feelings you have are fine and completely normal. Just think of what you have been through over the last months or years, what impact these experiences have on your personal development. And be patient with others who stayed at home. They have not lived your life and for someone who didn’t make your experiences it is not easy to see the world from your point of few. My second message goes to all the people who have family or friends returning home after being abroad for a longer period of time. You too be patient. Your loved ones have been on a great adventure and sometimes they need someone to talk about it. Please listen. It will help them to resettle a lot easier and make them feel a lot more welcome.