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.”