Thursday, September 23, 2010

Expat Goin' Home (The Other Way)

Every time I leave the States to return to Egypt, I do so with mixed feelings.

It's hard to pack up your bags, kiss your family and friends goodbye, and get on that airplane bound for another country. And no matter how many times I do it, it doesn't get any easier.

Home is a very loose term that I use for basically anywhere I feel like calling home at the moment. It could be our flat in Cairo or my parents' house in KY or the hotel room where we're staying. I am not by any means trying to downplay the significance of *coming home* or *going home* but rather how I sometimes say the word home to mean a variety of places.

I think maybe I need to expand my vocabulary, what do you think?

Because basically I am in effect leaving home while going home at the same time. Boy is that confusing or what?!

So by leaving home, I am leaving many beloved people and things behind. Again.

Family members are always the hardest to say goodbye to, especially now that there is a grandchild (my son) on my side of the family. It has been so special this time to be with them while my son is at such a tender age where he learns something new practically every day. And since we were in the States for almost a month, it was kind of nice being around enough to kind of feel like it was "normal" to see them every day. We could just swing by my grandmother's for a bit while we waited to go meet someone. We could show up unannounced at my parents' house without having to call first. I could have late night chats with my sister while we play endless rounds of Super Mario World.  It was just another day.  And it was nice.

On a lighter note, I think I'll miss simply the ease of being in the States. It's easy to drive anywhere not just because I have a car (albeit a rental) but also because everything is so accessible. I can go through the drive-thru for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if I want to. I can easily find a parking spot in just about any place I choose to go. Need to go shopping? Well, the sky is the limit because I have any number of grocery stores within a 10 mile radius from where we're staying! And I can't even begin to describe the mass amounts of ready-made products available in every grocery store in the USA.

Yes, I will definitely miss things being more easy.  And don't you know that we Americans are all about making things more easy!

So like I said before, I have mixed feelings about going home to Egypt. And it's not just about leaving the States, but rather how in some ways that in leaving the States (as in, NOT being in the States) it will be more difficult to be back in Egypt.  Like I've said on many occasions, I do LOVE Egypt.  But after being in America for a month, it will be easy to remember all the things I'm missing out on. Luckily after a while the feeling kind of dies down, especially as I am reminded of all the things I love so much about living in Egypt.

Hence the hard part of leaving home. I'm not trying to have a pity party here, just trying to give an honest perspective on how an expat feels when they go home to their home country for a visit and then have to go back home to their country of residence.

But Egypt is our home, as in where we live. And even though I take my pillow everywhere with me, it always fits best on my own bed in Egypt. It will be nice to be in my own kitchen again, where I know where everything is and I have everything I need (well, practically everything I need which is actually available in Egypt).  It will be good to see our Egyptian family, friends and church again - and for them to see how much my son has grown in the month we have been gone. And I know that I have a sweet little lady that comes to clean several times a week (which means I don't have to) and that if I'm hungry, I can just call McDonald's to deliver me a double cheeseburger combo with a Coke and a hot fudge sundae any day of the week at just about any time of day.

So it's good to be going home as well.

No, wait, it's GREAT to be going home!

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