It’s Been a While, but WE’RE BACK!

Thrifty Travel Mama | Back to Blogging after Moving to AmericaIt’s been a while since, well, our world completely changed.

And, it’s been a while since I’ve written because, well, I haven’t been able to make the time… for reasons I’ll mention in a minute.

But, I’m back since, well, our story isn’t over just yet.

Continuing the narrative is important. Conclusions matter. They erase that nagging question of, “Whatever happened to…” Your story, my story, our stories, they’re all full of meaning that doesn’t deserve to be cut short.

Before I launch into the posts about where in the world we’ve wandered and all the grit of my reentry experience, I’ll briefly describe why it has taken me so long to reacquaint fingertips to QWERTY.

First and foremost, to be completely honest, it has just been too hard. It’s difficult to think about what I miss and how much I miss it. The longing for “the way things were” is an indefatigable foe.. and a deceitful one at that.

Life abroad was not always amazing; in fact, often it was so hard that I was brought to tears, anger, and desire to just.go.home. But this side of the pond, those memories are fuzzy. It’s all too easy to wish for the greener pastures of bygones.

Second, untangling the reverse culture shock has been tricky. It cripples, and its most wicked weapon is the element of surprise. I know my own struggles intimately, but I have been waiting to see how this major change played out in other members of our family. Not all effects of culture shock show themselves immediately, and I didn’t think it wise to proclaim “all is well!” in haste.

Third, life circumstances made it nearly impossible to write. I managed to steal an hour here and there and eke out a rough post only a handful of times in eight months. When we landed in the US, we had no job, no destination, and only a loose plan. Our one computer and all kid-free hours were assigned to finding and applying for employment.

I’m happy to report that Doc Sci has a fantastic job now, and we are no longer professional hobos (or, pro-hobos as I dubbed it). Stay tuned for more about our wild ride in a coming post.

Third and a half, I started homeschooling our boys full-time, both as we traveled before we had a job and after we settled. The few hours I previously devoted to writing while the boys went to German kindergarten have now been obliterated with spelling lists, times tables, Egyptian pyramids, and the solar system.

If you know me, this decision to do school at home might blow your mind a little, so hang on – a post about our current educational choice and the hows and whys is also on the docket.

Because I have missed you, friends, and because I don’t want to string you along too much in this post, I’ll answer the burning question… where in the world are we?!

Since 2014 turned into 2015, we’ve called a small-ish city in Arizona home. Doc Sci is teaching at a local university, something he has wanted to try for years. And, I am scrambling to figure out a new balance of my own teaching, establishing local relationships, and managing an American life that turns out to be way more complicated than I remember.

If you’ve even heard the term “reverse culture shock,” you might already know that everyone’s experience with it is slightly different. So, why write about mine?

One of the main purposes of this blog is to help others. I have many expat friends and readers who will likely face reentry themselves one day, if they haven’t already. As I said before, everyone’s reverse culture shock experience is different and depends on factors such as where he originated, where abroad she lived, how long he was gone, and how much she embraced and identified with her host culture.

But, certain themes are common to all expats returning home, and an awareness of what may lie ahead is always appreciated. I aim to share my story with you in hopes that you are able to use it as a beacon on your own journey, or in the journey of someone close to you.

For now, I just want to thank you friends (yes, you!) for waiting patiently in my absence, and I look forward to getting reacquainted in the coming weeks.

I would love to know what all of you have been up to since I last posted. Leave a comment, post a link, drop a line. Let’s catch up!Signature Thrifty Travel Mama

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21 thoughts on “It’s Been a While, but WE’RE BACK!

  1. So lovely to see you posting again.
    The irony (for me) is that I only discovered your Blog after you already left Europe, even though we were practically neighbors (country-wise).
    But I am interested to read where the next part of your journey will lead, not to mention I plan to use a lot of your European suggestions for my own family.

    • Hi Fiona, thank you! What a pity we did not get to know each other when I lived in Germany. We loved Switzerland so much, and it would’ve been fun to meet up there. Please do use anything you find interesting here, and report back if you have any tips to share :).

  2. Glad to see you back. Germany to Arizona-, Europe to America, Employed to unemployed to new career and homeschooling… wow….
    This year we sold our home, gave away most of our stuff and are full time RVing it when we aren’t working in Africa. IN the midst of that, a 5 year drought broke in Texas, thus flooding most of the places we were going to park. Still glad we did it and are feeling free even as we adjust to a lot of flexing. This week loving the book, Red Sea Rules.

  3. Well, even though we didn’t meet on Facebook, this is great timing for me leaving Facebook today since I know I can easily keep up with you guys. I’m encouraged. Looking forward to your stories and photos.

  4. Great to read again you again and hare you are well. I do understand your struggle as we are still adjusting to our life back in Canada after almost 3 years as expat. It is as tough to come back than to settle in a new country. Good luck with everything. (Suzanne)

      • We haven’t specifically written about our repatriation only indirectly in a few posts on our blog earlier in the year. It has been very difficult. We came back to a city where we hadn’t lived in almost 30 years in a very harsh winter. You come back to your old life and it is quite a downer after the excitement of a life in a new country. I think every expat goes through this difficult readaptation.

      • Oh wow, that would be so strange and hard to handle the winter after Paris (even when it’s gray and rainy, it’s still Paris!). Yes, somehow the sights of your home country just aren’t as thrilling anymore. 😦

  5. It is so nice to see you back on the web. Your European travel posts have been an essential guide to planning travel for our family. Thank you for forging the trail. We too will be faced with repatriating in a year. I have been told that it is harder than moving abroad because you assume that everything is familiar. When in reality, it is all different, because you are different from your abroad experience. I will be interested to hear how you and your family have coped with re-entry. I wish you the best of luck with this new chapter of your lives. I’m looking forward to your posts and stories!

  6. Returning home is always a bit of a challenge for me. Sometimes I think it might be easier if I ever return to work in the US in a different city than the one I grew up in. Sure it is nice to be around family and friends, but I don’t always feel like the same person I was while I was growing up so it is a bit different. Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts on this.

    – Amanda at http://teachingwanderlust.com/

    • Hi Amanda,
      It has helped a lot that we have not returned to the places we grew up in. On the flip side, that has made it harder because you have no roots in the new place, and you have to establish them all over again. At least we have some practice with that being expats, right? 🙂

  7. I am thrilled to see that you are posting again! My family moved to Holland one year ago, and I have referred to your blog many times this past year for planning our travels around Europe. Expat life has had many more extreme ups and downs than I anticipated, so I am anxious to hear about your experiences with reverse culture shock, since we’ll have to deal with that at some point too. I also look forward to reading about your decision to homeschool!

  8. Pingback: The Reluctant Homeschool: Our Educational Journey Thus Far | Thrifty Travel Mama

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