Weekly Series

INTERNET RANTS | “Are You Happy to Be Home?”

Seeing old friends in the United States after living for a year in Greece, the question I heard more than any other was,

“Are you happy to be home?”

Which is a weird question, because why not the much easier and more common, “How are you?”

Here’s why, says my internet-ranting brain:  because people assume that home is better than away, and that they know what I like and need more than I do!!

I’m being too harsh, I know, and I ought to be grateful that people paid attention to my life at all, I know (though not anymore, haha!).  But it touched a nerve.

So people kept asking, “Are you happy to be home?” and I kept lying and saying, “Yes!”

That was easier than saying the true answer, which is something like, “Not really.  I mean, it’s nice to sleep all the time and for my mom to make me hot chocolate, but I miss Athens.  I miss having my own home, and while I love being with Rory Cat, I miss Hans Harrison and worry that he’s adjusting to his new home.  I miss the friends that I was just starting to feel close to and all the people that were bringing out new passions in me and creating safe places for me. I miss waking up with a purpose and going to work and knowing that I am a valuable part of a really wonderful organization.  I want to be there for Christmas parties, and I want to eat souvlaki, and I want to misunderstand someone’s Greek, and I want to walk to the metro station while listening to a podcast, and sure it’s nice to have the freedom of driving again, but I’ve CHANGED, and I feel like you are trying to make me into who I used to be with this stupid question about how much better it is to be home than to be in this amazing ugly cool place that I made my own!!!!”

Alternative Comments For When Someone Returns From Living Abroad

  • “I’m so glad to see you!  How are you?”
  • “Tell me about your time in XXX.  I’d love to hear.”
  • “You must be feeling a lot of things!  I hope you’re doing okay.”
  • “The crazy look in your eyes makes me think you’re over-sensitive.  I’m just going to hug you and then walk away slowly.”
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2 thoughts on “INTERNET RANTS | “Are You Happy to Be Home?””

  1. Your reaction reminds me of the time when I returned from 18 months in Morocco (I was in the Navy assigned to the Naval Air Station in Port Lyautey, Morocco) to the US. It was way more of a cultural shock than I had expected. I looked forward to “going home” but when I got there I felt really out of place and disconnected. I had two weeks leave, and since I was not going back to Morocco, but had other adventures awaiting me on the ship I had been assigned to in Norfolk VA, I got through the disorientation but it did take awhile. The lesson I learned is that home is where you are, not so much where you were before. Since you are going back to Athens, that mentally is your home until you leave permanently. I have had many “homes” in my life, all interesting, and I could tell stories for hours. So rather than “welcome home” I will say that it is good to have you here for a short while and I hope you enjoy your visit. Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Tommy! I do think this is a case where you have to experience something to realize how much it matters (or read a blog post, haha). I should add your last sentence to my list of recommendations!

      Like

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