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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Dawson

A Push and a Pull

My family and I are uprooting ourselves and are about to move across the world.

There. I said it.

This isn’t an easy admission, to those we are leaving and even more so to ourselves.

Don't get me wrong - we are excited about our sunny destination. We are just constantly faced with the common expat predicament of having a life we adore here and beloved family and friends there. I don't expect you to feel sorry for me. As a matter of fact, you should be rolling your eyes at me for feeling anything less than immense gratitude.

Almost 18 years ago my husband and I got married, and just weeks later made the leap to a foreign land with minimal belongings and hearts and minds full of hopes and dreams. We had no real plans other than to see and experience the world and make some money along the way. It wasn't an escape, but more of a whim, simply because we could. We got on the rollercoaster, had quite a long ride, and now we are leaving our adopted country with the addition of two kids, a house to sell, a large shipping container of too much crap, irreplaceable friendships, countless memories, and a dog. There were even a few fish and a cat along the way, rest their little souls.

My kids have never lived in their homeland or even know what it really means to be an American. They might not even think of my homeland as their homeland because they weren't born there. Is that a big deal? Probably not, but somehow having them experience it feels like the right/responsible thing to do. There are also many other reasons for the Big Move Back, but for better or for worse, we are doing it.

How do we mentally process and accept this major life change when we love the life we are leaving? I keep reminding myself that we aren't exactly dreading the life to which we are going.

The life of an expat is a complex one, where we feel incredibly full yet empty at the same time. We will still feel that way when we move back, just full and empty from the opposite things. It's all about trade-offs. Dual citizenship = dual identities = we have no idea who we really are or where we are really from anymore. Yet most of us would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Home country vs. adopted country.

Birth family vs. additional chosen family.

One adventure vs. another.

A push and a pull.

My family and I have had the incredible fortune to experience this life here, and we are ready to experience our next phase of life there. It is time.


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