Expat: Going home for a holiday

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I am writing this when I should be packing…

As regular readers will know, we have been at home on holiday.

When I say holiday, I mean a mad, frantic ten days of seeing as many friends and family as we can squeeze in.

When I say home, I mean Edinburgh; our old home, as I do think of our new house in the US as home too.

For all the expats out there, how do you manage these breaks (I’m not going to use the term holiday!)?

I had a timetable, a plan. Broken down into morning, afternoon and evening slots. I wanted to see as many people as I could. In a very short space of time. That requires precision planning! You can understand why I don’t call it a holiday :)

It’s a tricky balance though. I can only do so much, so how do I choose? How do I prioritise?

I can’t see everyone.

Family must come first, so those visits are booked in and everything else falls into place around them.

Then come friends.

When I’m in Edinburgh I would love to get through to Glasgow and catch up with friends there. But, that would take best part of a day and when I only have four to play with; I just can’t. So, I stick to Edinburgh. My next dilemma is who I see during the day, who I see in the evening. Evening meet ups mean more dedicated conversation, no interruptions. Daytime means that the children can also meet their friends… And, it’s just as important for the boys to see people as it is me, so I have to balance that too.

When I’m in Dublin, the focus is firmly on my husbands family, as it should be. But, I have friends there who I would love to fit in too.

I end up feeling completely torn, and never feel that I’ve quite managed to get it right.

This trip, I did see everyone that I wanted to see in Edinburgh, but I didn’t get to speak to people as much as I would have liked. And, there are others who it was impossible to see at all. I wish I could somehow clone myself…

We’ve had a wonderful trip; it’s been fun, frenetic, full on. We’ve had coffees and lunches and dinners and drinks!

I’m completely exhausted :)

And, although it has been wonderful, I am left feeling slightly unfinished. I wish that I could chat to people for just a little longer; have one more coffee, one more drink, one more giggle.

I guess that is just an inherent part of the expat existence. Feeling torn. Wishing you could be in two places at once.

I will be fine once I’m back in the US. I am happy there, it will be good to be back in our own house, in our own beds. But, there will also be a part of me that remains tied to, and stretched painfully between, the new and old homes.

And, actually, I don’t want it to be any other way.

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29 thoughts on “Expat: Going home for a holiday”

  1. Mama and More aka Zaz

    Ah, I feel exactly the same when I go home to the West Indies or to my father’s hometown in France. Always torn in two, schlepping the family about. I now try to be really strict – family and friends for 8 days, pure getaway holiday for 6. Would love you to link up to #AllAboutYou live this morning x

  2. This brings back so many feelings I share with you every time it go home!!! It’s never long enough to see everyone. I always feel torn and the trip unfinished. It’s hard to have your life and heart in two places at once. Especially when you have kids because they need to do things and see people too only fair. I am so glad you got to come home !!! I go in July can’t wait. Jet lag is easier going ur way then mine hope it goes away quickly for u and the kids. Lol saying goodbye is never easy is it. Nor is all the packing!!! Lol

  3. Wow! Sounds exhausting. I am a Londoner now living in Baltimore (13 years). I guess I have got around this because I don’t have a big family in UK. My husband has an enormous family in Dublin so that is more hectic although we usually stay in a hotel and try and relax a bit and leave the kids with the grandparents. Linking up with #AllAboutYou

    1. We do the hotel thing in both Edinburgh and Dublin, which helps a bit (at least I get a bit of a rest!) but it’s still a bit frantic. I need to take a leaf out of your book and leave the kids with family!

  4. Wow, this sounds like more hard work than not being on ‘holiday’ is there anyway you can plan to have a week at home in the US after you get back from one of these breaks, so you can actually rest?!! Thanks so much for linking up to #AllAboutYou – impressed you have the energy to blog ;)

    1. I wish we could :) Although I think we ally do need to sort ourselves out a break soon to recharge a little! Thanks for hosting x

  5. thereadingresidence

    It sounds like such a difficult balance, and I have no clue how you do it. I’m sure your family an friends loved the times that you could give them on your mad, whistle-stop tour!

    1. Thank you Jocelyn, it was great fun – part of me likes the dashing around, but it is exhausting and leaves you feeling that you haven’t quite managed enough x

  6. Aw … this post made me think of my mum and her experiences! The being torn and wanting to be in two places at once … my mum is British and my dad was Ghanaian and so I was born in the uk but then my family moved to Ghana. As a kid those trips back to England we’re hectic and awesome and provided long standing, wonderful memories! However, I can still picture my mums stressed out face! Ha Enjoy being back in your own beds, there’s nothing that says home quite like your own bed! Thanks for sharing #AllAboutYou

    1. It was good to be back in my own bed last night! It’s such good fun visiting everyone, completely mad and busy, but a lot of fun. I suspect though that I often bare the same stressed face that your mum did!

  7. This is so familiar – I was an expat in France for 12 years and every trip “home” to the UK saw me rushing around trying to see everyone, eat everything and buy everything I couldn’t get in France. I used to call the UK “home” and France “home”, now we’re back living in the UK and I still have the rushing around visits when we go back to France, although funnily I only call the UK “home” now.

    1. I suspect I will be the same with the word ‘home’… It’s tough isn’t it, worth it to see everyone, but really hard work!

  8. How lovely that you got to go home. How did I miss this?! It must have been wonderful but I can only imagine how difficult it must be to squeeze all the people you should see and those you want to see. You must be exhausted! Coming back for Britmums????!

  9. Such a tricky one- could you have people come to you do you at least don’t have the travelling time? #willynilly

    1. We do a bit of that, where possible! Especially in Dublin where everyone gathers in one house. It’s harder in Edinburgh because we don’t have a house where everyone can meet. I do try and meet multiple people for coffee in the same place :)

  10. Mama and More aka Zaz

    Have just booked our holiday home, and was prompted to re-read yours again! I’ve already booked our holiday hotel post-family visits! Thanks so much for linking this to #AllAboutYou – new linky live tomorrow morning if you fancy x

    1. Very wise :) I wish we were able to do that! And, I actually have a dedicated post all ready for you for tomorrow!

  11. Pingback: When an Expat Visits Home: Caught Between Two Worlds? | Expatriatus

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