Monday, December 14

swallowed in the sea

I have reached my capacity for things new. Just today. Maybe tomorrow, or the next day too, but I won't worry about that. It's hard to explain the depth to which you are out of your element when you move abroad. It is wonderful, exciting, educational, expansive... but I think this alien feeling must be general among people who move for an extended length of time to somewhere dramatically new. Or maybe it's just me. To find that there is a limit, and when you reach it, you just want to go "wee wee wee, all the way home."

It's more than troubles adjusting to a new language, food, or routines. It's in the undercurrent of the culture. A foundation that doesn't support you no matter how hard you try to adapt. There's no footing, no traction. I feel like I'm always slipping, sliding, floating... there's nothing solid to hold on to. And that's fun sometimes. Thrilling. But sometimes it makes you want to lash yourself to the nearest anchor and plunge yourself back to where you came from.

Just for the music... I love Coldplay these days.


  1. I know what you mean! At the moment I don't 'want to go back'. But tomorrow - I don't know.

    I love the sun and light - I don't miss the winter at all!

    And funny thing is when you go back (done that) you don't feel the same as you did before moving. You become rootless. Not 100% at home anywhere. But you can be happy and enjoy life!!!
    I like that song, thanks!

  2. Hi Christine,

    I've never lived abroad so I don't fully understand what you're experiencing. I do know that when I moved away from Chicago, the thought that it was no longer my home never occurred. Years later, I had the conscious realization when I acknowledged, "I was ready to go home".

    I don't know how one reconciles those wee wee wee, all the way home feelings. One of the marvelous qualities about our species is our ability to adapt. I think sharing these thoughts with your husband, a relative or a close friend may help you cope with feelings of isolation.

    I have friends who are planning to retire to Central America (Costa Rica or Nicaragua) and I really love vacationing in that area. It's something I think about as retirement nears but haven't made a decision yet.

    Hopefully, Coldplay will bring you some cheer.


  3. Anonymous10:54 AM

    Interesting. I felt the same way when I moved out of province. For the first few years it was fun, discovering a new place, making comparisons, working my way into the rhythm of the place. Then once that was over I started thinking - okay, it's time to go home now. So I did. If going home had not been an option, I'm sure I would have found a way to reconcile myself to that, too. My parents are immigrants and it took them forever to feel that Canada was their home, but it DID happen eventually.

  4. One day, I want to live somewhere completely different from where I grew up. I'll have to remember this sense of not feeling grounded.

  5. When I was in my 40's, I moved away from my hometown in Ohio to St. Paul, MN. Same language, same country, but I experienced a bit of what you're talking about, I think. After I met Old Dog, I moved home again. I said it was because he had kids still at home, and needed to stay near them, but some of it was what you're talking about.

  6. I was in Japan for almost 4 years and I can absolutely relate to what you're saying. It comes and goes; it's very normal. Doesn't make it any easier, but maybe it helps knowing you're not alone.


  7. Just treading water is OK sometimes but I dont like to stay there long. That's tiring. Hope your feeling passes...

  8. Hang in there... I too know how you feel... This is the first time at your blog so I feel like I need to go catch up on your story...

    I feel like I have been an expat most of my life..

  9. I will tell you that I had those feelings and still do at times when I first found out that I was sick. Everything I thought about my world changed and I had to adapt...but sometimes I still feel it would be nice to have that firm footing again... OK that was some of my random thoughts.. See they don't make poetry..they may not even make sense...


...and you may ask yourself, did I get here?