does living abroad make the heart grow fonder?

Monday, September 29, 2014

I've been feeling nostalgic all weekend. It's a strange and sad feeling, and one I think most people who choose to live far away from the country they were born and grew up in must experience at least once.

For me, it's been the combination of a very busy week, and also having my parents visiting from New Zealand. In truth the last week has been easy on me - as Mum and Dad have been staying with my brother (who is also settled in the UK). My week was normal.

Tomorrow they come back to London, and back to me for another week and a half. And then it will be goodbye again - for who knows how long. One year, two years, three?

And that is the burden of being an expat and living abroad. Every day I weigh up the pros and cons. Travel vs family time. A job I love vs settling. Living in one of the biggest cities in the world vs one of the smallest.

Does living abroad make the heart grow fonder?

Kayaking down the Whanganui River, New Zealand
a family trip kayaking down the Whanganui River, New Zealand - January 2009

Ten years ago I would have sworn black and blue that I would never return to New Zealand to live. The world was far too exciting to be stuck in the furthest corner of the globe, pretty much twelve hours flight from anywhere interesting.

These days I'm not quite as certain as that. The decision is not quite as black and white, and the topic of 'where are we going next?' is a often debated subject that sends us to sleep at least once every few weeks.

What about you? Do you live away from your country of birth? Or would you?

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18 comments

  1. I can totally relate to this post! I am so close with my family and it has not been easy living far away from them. The pro/con of living abroad is a frequent conversation for me as well. If only traveling was cheap and quicker so we could visit home whenever we wished. Enjoy your week with your parents!

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    1. Thanks Kiki, I'm glad I'm not the only one. It's a strange feeling not knowing where in the world you will end up. One of my biggest fears is deciding to settle somewhere and then having my own children do the same as me - choosing the furtherest away location to live... I do feel for my parents.

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  2. That's super interesting because I loved living away but I also missed my parents a lot! I feel I've grown closer to them while being away - I love asking for their advice and Skyping with them, etc. Which is tough, because I feel it's harder now to say goodbye to them then it was before! I guess I appreciate them so much more now!

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    1. I love living in the UK, it's just the reality that I'm a 24 hour flight from New Zealand if I ever had to get there fast. When I do see my family the time is very intense - we try to squeeze in as much as possible, which for some reason can make it less enjoyable. Hmmm - maybe I need to make better use of skype.

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  3. Hmmm I've actually lost a lot of fondness and attachment to the UK since moving to the US. Don't get me wrong, I miss people but the distance turns out to be a lot healthier for us, me and my parents in particular. I think the only thing the distance has made me more fond of, or perhaps long for more is just having a decent plate of fish n chips.

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    1. I'm glad the distance is working for you Rachael. How do you keep in touch with people back home?

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  4. At the moment, living away isn't TOO hard for me. It's only been just over a year. I do have days where I wish I could be home with my family just for a night to soak it all in. I think deep down I know that I do want to eventually settle back in Aus, but the opportunities are endless out in this big wide world!

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    1. Ha ha - once you have a taste it's hard to go back. I've been abroad for almost 10 years now and NZ just seems so small. If we went back it would only be for family reasons.

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  5. Growing up, I always wanted to run away and it was so exciting when I finally did. I knew that entailed being away from my family and friends, but somehow it didn't really "click" until I came home to visit one year and realized my parents had become old people (they're in their late sixties). I always had this idea of living abroad forever, but now I'm back home and it's nice to be close to my family and see my nieces grow up.

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    1. I know exactly what you mean. My dad is now in his late seventies and each time I see my parents I do notice a difference. I like the idea of maybe going back for a few years and then heading back out into the world again.

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  6. aw, this has me heavy hearted! it's such a hard balance between the two lives. its strange for us. now that we're living back in our home country, i've heard countless times that we're 'home'....and it actually bugs me. we were home when we were in brussels.

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    1. Oww, sorry! Yep - I have had many people ask me over the years 'when am I coming home'? Bugs me too.

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  7. It is so tough, one of the hardest aspects of expat life. On the other hand it's harder to be nagged by your Mum via Skype...

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  8. It definitely makes my heart grow fonder. I have a very glamorous, idealized version of England in my head now!

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    1. Lol - try to hold onto the rose-tinted spectacles on you next visit :)

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  9. I always wish I was as brave as you. I live in a crappy little town that has nothing going for it, but the thought of moving abroad, away from my family petrifies me :( Maybe one day I'll take a leaf out of your book and just go for it?

    Charli x

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    1. Thanks Charli. I'm sure your town isn't crappy, every place in the world has it's own charm. Do you think I'm brave? I'm not so sure.

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