Repatriation: Why It’s So Hard

Moving back home after living overseas was more difficult than settling in a foreign land

Emily Primeaux

--

The top of Rock of Gibraltar, the little peninsula where I worked and played.

Moving abroad with my boyfriend (now husband) eight years ago was one of the most exciting, gratifying, and challenging experiences of my life. When you take that big leap, you must adapt to new cultures, be open to meeting new people, and work daily to learn and understand new languages. I see much written about how to best tackle this life-changing adventure.

But for many, time in a foreign land is only temporary, and moving home can be far more overwhelming and lonely. This tricky move called “repatriation” is filled with its own uncertainty, anxiety, and challenges.

I remember moving back to the U.S. after living for years in Europe — in Ireland, Gibraltar, and Spain to be exact. I was ready to be close to family again. I eagerly anticipated the ease with which I could accomplish simple tasks, something I had taken for granted before adapting to a slower pace of life overseas. I was ready to ask for things in my native language and to buy items in bulk at the grocery store.

Imagine my shock when it was not only hard, but downright devastating at times. I loathed my new commute—I’d become so accustomed to public transportation and walking. I missed my friends…

--

--

Emily Primeaux

World traveler, writer, editor, kitty-handler, missing the European life