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What Expats Miss More about Home

As we brace ourselves to move abroad for the second time in a few years, I look back and I know that squeezing our lives into a suitcase and live as expats was the best decision that we could have possibly made. Because when you move away, when you turn your life into a journey filled with uncertainty, you grow up in unexpected ways. You face new challenges, you get to know parts of you you didn’t know existed, you’re amazed at yourself and at the world. You learn, you broaden your horizons. You unlearn, and after coming down and embracing a few lessons, you start growing in humility. You evolve. You feel homesick… and you shape memories that will stay with you forever.

Only a few days before leaving Greece for the second time, me and my husband are both excited and eager to start our new life. In our mid 30’s we feel like school kids who can’t wait to see what future holds with all the career prospects that arise before us. Best part is that we are planning on starting this new life journey with a road trip across Europe and I can’t even begin to tell you how excited we both are… and yet, something brings a sad taste to this burst of enthusiasm.

Home is not a place...

Though we are both dedicated into an open lifestyle and very experienced in relocating for career pursue, we found ourselves already missing a couple of things from our home country which, surprisingly enough, are very common among the expats no matter the country of their origin. No matter if you come from sunny Spain or ice cold Iceland when you move abroad there are a few certain things that you miss from back home.

1. Food

Whether it’s mum’s homemade food or street food or certain packaged treats, no matter if you move to a country with an internationally famous cuisine or not, you will always miss the food you grew up with. Even if you find the exact same dishes or the exact same products in the markets, there is always something missing. It could be something as small as a certain bar of chocolate or something more basic like finding some kinds of vegetables or fruits. Three things we know we will miss more than anything once we move abroad:

  1. Cutting fruits directly from the trees in our yard (apricots, lemons, figs, grapes and walnuts) and fresh vegetables from my mum’s garden.
  2. Finding good quality olive oil at a decent price.
  3. Mum’s homemade pies.

2. The weather

Surprisingly enough, all expats seem to miss their home country’s weather. Whether they come from a country with a mild climate, like the Mediterranean, or a country with a more unpredictable weather, like Britain, we all miss the weather we grew up with. Yes, people miss rainy and cold as much as other people miss sunny and warm. The only assumption we can make is that it has to do something with our childhood memories of when everything felt easier and more secure. As long as we recall our childhood period as the happiest of our lives we will always miss everything connected with those memories.

3. Lifestyle

Most expats claim that one of the top reasons to leave their county is their wish to change their lifestyle (better work/life balance, daily routine, cultural environment) and yet at the same moment it’s one of the things they miss the most once they move abroad. A lot of space here for some human behavior analysis (which is one of my favorites in Social Sciences) but let’s not step into that now and let’s just remember that being used at something is one of the greatest addictions.

A lot of friends ask me what I will miss the most about Greece, food, climate, family or lifestyle, and they are usually surprised by my answer.

Yes, as all expats, we will experience some kind of nostalgia for all the things mentioned above but what we will miss the most is the light and colours of Greece. The bluest blue and the brightest bright along with the other, fading under the sun, colours. If you have ever been to Greece you know of what I’m talking about. If not, here are some pictures similar to those I always carry with me in my mind.

santorini-colours of Greece
Santorini island – Pixabay
oia-colours of Greece
Apollonian white and Aegean blue in Oia-Pixabay

 

Aeagean-Colours of Greece
sparkling waters in the Aegean – Pixabay

Even if you miss home sometimes, never forget…

The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.

Love Constance

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27 thoughts on “What Expats Miss More about Home

  1. What an exciting adventure you’re living! I would LOVE to do the same, but my husband is not as adventurous. You’re very fortunate to be both on the same page. There’s no better adventure than travel and getting a change of scenery. Looking forward to reading about more of your travels!

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    1. Oh how sweet of you to say that! To be honest we are excited and stressed at the same time. Changing everything in your life is not an easy process and sometimes it involves a lot of agony. This road trip decision was the best one we ever made because it really turned this process into an adventure. It makes me laugh only to think of us wandering around Europe with our car packed with our household.Real bohemians :p Having worked for the industry of tourism for several years I have one tip that might help you and your husband … start small and programed, pick your destinations carefully to fit his personality and hope for the bug travel to find him during those trips :p

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  2. I’ve never really thought of how crazy it is that I have moved countries three times already, even though I’m only 25 – until today! But that’s just who I am, so I can’t really help it! Haha
    I’m kind of starting to feel ready to move again soon! There’s just a certain feeling of unknown adventure to move somewhere you don’t know all that well (twice I’ve moved to countries I’ve never even been before!). It’s pretty great.
    I do agree with most of what you’re saying, though being from the south of Sweden I can honestly say that I do NOT miss the swedish weather (only at Christmas because it’s really meant to be cold then, not 40 degrees like it is here in Australia) haha.
    Thanks for a great post, it really made me think of home – my old and my new one πŸ™‚

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    1. Hey Johanna what a coincidence, I was counting three countries by the age of 25, but all in the same continent πŸ™‚ Australia was a huge decision, wasn’t it? Education and career were the obvious reasons for me, but deep down I really enjoy moving from country to country meeting new people with different culture.
      Missing Swedish weather at least once a year is good enough for me :p I know I will miss the Greek weather even-though I am a winter kind of type (40 degrees is only for vacations, not for everyday life).
      Thank you for stopping by Johanna and I’m really glad you enjoyed my post. :*

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  3. Greece is so bright, so sunny, so ancient and so cool, no wonder you feel nostalgic already. πŸ™‚ But at mid-30 you’re just mature enough and in the best possible age in life for such a big adventure, so heads up and best of luck !

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    1. Thank you SO much Leah, I really appreciate it for being so supportive! Just today my husband was in Belgrade on a business trip and he told me how much he likes it. Of course it’s not his first time there but everytime it’s the same excitement! There is something about Serbia that attracts us πŸ˜‰

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  4. A Korean grandmom's story.κΉ€μ •μ™„ ν• λ¨Έλ‹ˆμ˜ ν•œκ΅­μ–΄μ™€ ν•œκ΅­λ¬Έν™”.Korean language and culture centre, Klcc@koreanartsclub.me says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and lovely photos. It looks a well organised essay. Thanks a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I could not agree more. Although for me it is a bit different. I guess it has a lot to do with the childhood that you mention while talking about weather. I lived in Brazil when I was 7-9 years old, and when I think about foods and weather and lifestyle that I miss, I very rarely remember that of my home country, but always that of Brazil. And I guess it is because of the fondest memories that I have as a child are from there. Also could be because I am currently in my home country and have been for the past 8 years πŸ˜€

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    1. Hi Micha, sorry for being so late to get back to you, but I am a little bit disoriented lately with all the preparations for moving abroad. Interesting that you mostly recall memories from the age of 7 to 9. Your life in Brazil must of been very exciting. Where do you come from originally? In two days I’m leaving from Greece and I already feel some nostalgia πŸ™‚

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    1. Oh a fellow traveler! Thank you for this lovely comment. Seeing pictures from other fellow travelers makes me dream of going to all these places! No matter how far we travel, no matter the beautiful places we see…the place we call home holds a unique spot in our heart, wouldn’t you say?

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