Going home was a bit strange for me ... I know this is my new home and that going back to Colorado was just a holiday but it felt quite the opposite. I felt like I was going home and now I'm back in England on my extended holiday. I wondered on my flight back when that would change? Will the day come when on my flight back to London, I will feel like I'm coming 'home'?
I think I have changed since I have moved, I may not have realised how much until I went back home. In many ways it seems as if I have just left and in other ways it seems like I have been gone quite a long time. It was interesting that in many ways it was so easy to go home and slip right back into my old life and old routines. Before I left it was that routine that was driving me crazy but now that I have completely changed my life, it seems like a nice break from my life here. Funny how perspective can change the way you see things.
Speaking of perspective... It was funny seeing things back home now that I have had to change my lifestyle to adjust to European living standards. There is so much SPACE back in Colorado! I suppose because I do live near the city now, I have become accustomed to the rows of buildings and houses, narrow streets and lots of pedestrians. In London, it can take an hour or more to travel 10 miles but when I'm back home in Colorado I can typically travel that distance in 15 minutes or less in my car. There aren't many pedestrians on the streets back home either because most people own or travel by car. I was also blown away by the big retail stores and the variety of products that we have at our disposal in the US. I was shopping with my mother one day in Target and had to stop and marvel at the fact that there was an entire aisle dedicated to toilet paper! How many toilet paper options do we really need? Apparently there is a vast difference of opinion amongst American consumers which toilet paper they prefer to purchase.
I did do quite a bit of shopping when I returned home because London is quite expensive so I do think you get better prices and better quality products back in the States. I guess I'm specifically speaking of clothing in this instance. I also have been plagued my entire life with the horrible affliction of having ginormous feet (I would like to say that this is an exaggeration but I'd be lying if I said I hadn't won a 'big foot' contest when I was in 5th grade - very proud moment for me I'm sure you understand). In my defense I am quite tall so large feet are needed to keep me upright but I digress. I rarely find shoes my size in the UK (size 11 US, size 9 UK), so when I returned home I did pick up a few pairs of shoes as well as a pair of my favourite Silver jeans as well. Luckily I had gone to the pub the night before I returned home which caused me to pack 'light' the morning of my flight when I awoke on only two hours of sleep to pack my luggage. I guess that turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Seeing my family and friends did make me home sick. Going home and hanging out with them made me feel like I was slipping back into my own skin. So many times in the UK I feel a bit out of place or out of sorts working to figure things out. I know it will get better with time but I would say I'm just now getting past the culture shock of my initial move. I understand that it was a very big move so I take it in stride. It was funny that all my friends thought that I would come home with an accent. I know that some Americans do pick up the accent as I have heard it when I have met up with other American expats living in London. I really don't see myself picking it up to be honest. I have a hard time even faking the accent so I'm guessing it won't ever come naturally to me but I guess only time will tell that as well. I do feel out of touch with what is going on back home and it has prompted me to start reading the US news more this week. I need to stay abreast of what is going on in my own country and ensure I don't fall out of touch. This was a tip that was offered to me by another American living here and I see now how right he was that it is important to stay informed about what goes on in your home country.
I do believe that living abroad has expanded my view of the world. There is so much to see and people are so different every place you go. I want to experience as much of it as I can in my short lifetime and maybe in the end I will better understand my place in this world. I think the only way to truly get to know yourself is to push your limits, take yourself outside of your comfort zone and see the ways that others live so that you can learn to appreciate the life that you have.