They say moving to a foreign country is as hard as moving back to your home country. I could not agree more. After you have adjusted to life in another country and get used to the local habits & practices, your life abroad becomes part of who you are. It has been almost three years ago that I moved back to The Netherlands but there are still moments that make me think back on my expat life in Hong Kong.
Do not get me wrong, moving back was at that time the right choice to make and it is something I will never regret doing. It narrowed the physical distance between my family and me, and enabled me to start my digital marketing career in a stellar business climate. However, there is a part of me that will always miss the metropolis dynamics, the convenience of having everything within hand’s reach and the incredible hiking trials.
The moment I touched down on home soil, I was immediately confronted with the feeling that everything has changed in just two years’ time. Everything seemed to be so different from the last time I left home. One of the most difficult things for me to accept was the fact that many of my closed friends have been moving on with their own lives. In addition, having been immersed in the vibrant metropolis life, a slower paced and less dynamic lifestyle in The Netherlands suddenly felt very weird. So yes, I admit that I needed time and courage to resettle myself in the once called “home”.
After having been through this, I am thankful for all my family and friends who did stay and provided a great support during my repatriation process. The most important thing I learned during this process is to not isolate myself but rather to expose myself to everything around me. I have talked with my fellow expat friends who were also trying to resettle in their home country. They were experiencing exactly the same difficulties and challenges.
Just like going abroad, repatriation was an adventure on its own that asked for my patience and my open-minded & positive attitude. So I tried my very best not to be locked in ice and chose to struggle through it instead. I kept on moving and finding things to keep me grounded. Along the way, I reminded myself of all the good things about my home country and tried to pick up where I left off, right before I took on an international adventure. I joined social gatherings, applied for jobs, started working on my blog and became involved in volunteer work. I entered all of this with no expectations whatsoever.
It was true that I had an amazing time as expat in Hong Kong. This metropolis had amazed me in many respects and it enabled me to do the things I have not done before. However, this all has become the past. It has no added value to be stuck in memories of my expat life. It was a snapshot of life. Even if I move back to Hong Kong, it will never be the same as the first time. So the best I can do is to give the full focus to my life in my country of origin and use my overseas experience as valuable life lesson along the process.
For those of you who have also made the decision to move back home, what was it like for you? What challenges did you face? I’d love to know about them in the comments below.
Until next time!