Repatriation is a secret that no one wants to talk about. However in this article, we discuss a practical concept called I Am A Triangle that breaks down in real terms what it's like to enter and re-enter different cultures. Culture adaptation does impact us as humans and it's nice to know we're not alone.
I'm not actually repatriating, so I'm kind of stuck in the middle.I can glean some suggestions from the websites and advice books on how to fit back in, but at the end of this summer, I'm still returning to my expat life.
I moved to a community where I don't know anyone and owe nothing. I'm too far away from most friends to see them this summer. The most pressing thing on my schedule every day is to make it a better day than the one before. It gives a person some crazy reflection time. Time to examine what kind of a person you are when you have nothing from the outside influencing you directly.Nothing but family and personal choices.
During a FB chat with Michelle, we were discussing "moving back" and I have to admit that as I walk through this process of returning to the United States to set up a summer home, I realize fully that I have morphed into a full-on square. A square in a round hole.
Not the kind of square that struggles socially, but the kind of square that doesn't fit into many shapes. Think round peg in a square hole kind of thing.
[Although if you're a small enough shape, you can fit inside of MANY shapes ... which also could be a whole discussion about expanding your world ... hmmm.]
Living abroad has changed me, hardened me, enlightened me, exhausted me, excited me, and most obviously, expanded me. There is so much more ... to life, to a marriage, to relationships, to intentions, to goals and success. My friend Jen recently asked me to help identify a song ... and when I looked in my music library, I was able to tell her that it was Brett Dennen.
When I heard the news, my heart fell on the floor. I was on a plane on my way to Baltimore. In these troubled times it's hard enough as it is. My soul has a known a better life than this.
I wonder how so many can be in so much pain, while others don't seem to feel a thing. Then I curse my whiteness and I get so damn depressed. In a world of suffering, why should I be so blessed? I heard about a women who lives in Colorado. She built a monument of sorts behind the garage door, where everyday she prays for all whom are born and all whose souls have passed on. Sometimes my trouble gets so thick, I can't see how I'm gonna get through it. But, then I'd rather be stuck up in a tree then be tied to it. There is so much more. I don't feel comfortable with the way my clothes fit. I cant get used to my body's limits. I got some fancy shoes to try and kick away these blues. They cost a lot of money but they arent worth a thing. I wanna free my feet from the broken glass and concrete. I need to get out of this city. Lay upon the ground stare a hole in the sky, wondering where I go when I die. ...When I die.
I don't pretend to know the actual meaning behind this song, but several snippets of it resonate deeply. Especially this part :
I wonder how so many can be in so much pain,while others don't seem to feel a thing.Then I curse my whitenessand I get so damn depressed.In a world of suffering,why should I be so blessed?
There is a weird phenomenon that happens when you repatriate, or return home. Mental ghost symptoms of the life you left behind appear out of nowhere. The friendships that were birthed as a result of our time in Delhi still remain, but the desperate grasp that you had for sanity's sake is replaced with nostalgia.
Readjusting to what you remember as normal is filled with aimless conversations about The Bachelorette and discussions at the grocery store checkout line about how expensive the cherries are.
Trying to make friends at the community pool renders us a bit paralyzed and we find ourselves staying "in" the day after, in an attempt to protect ourselves from repeating the inane and fruitless smiles to complete strangers, hoping that they will want to be our friends.
Those neighbors that do make the effort to return our "howdy" waves, often glaze over at about the point in the sidewalk chat when they've started to tell us about the 1st and 4th grade teachers for this Fall. I have to be honest and interrupt to let them know that we're only here for the summers. Investing in square pegs seems kind of silly when they're going to fly away in July.
Another friend and I were talking about trying to reestablish roots and whether this is all long-term healthy for our kiddos. I am now beginning to understand why so many expats skim across the surface of relationships. It's easier to pull up and start over when your safety net isn't thrown very far out in the first place.
I've no idea where this post is going, but I have needed to spill it for a little while now ... at least to get it out of my system and onto "paper" -- because when it's there, I find myself obsessing about it less.
It takes too much energy to round off my corners so that I fit in ... and why do I want to anyway, when my family loves me as I am -- sharp corners and all!