It’s been seven weeks since I said goodbye to my island life and moved back to Canada. I lived in paradise for five and half years and by the time I left, I had built an amazing life for myself. It wasn’t easy, starting over in a foreign land, but I was proud to say that I was an expat. It was like a badge of honor!
Bre and I have already shared our Top 10 Reasons to be an Expat. It’s a rewarding and life changing experience! However, being an expat means that the time will come when you have to pack up your things and go back home, aka repatriating.
You would think that repatriating to your home country would be easy, but it’s shockingly difficult! Even though I moved back to Canada, I did move to a new city. One that I had visited, but never lived in before. It’s very strange to feel like a foreigner in my home country. It’s also difficult to realize that friends have either moved on, or that I’ve changed so much from my expat experience that we no longer have much in common.
Now that I have a few weeks of experience under my belt, here are my five tips for repatriating successfully:
Incorporate the Culture
There’s no reason to forget your expat life. It’s part of your history now! Incorporate the culture and traditions from your expat country into your new life. Whether it’s celebrating their holidays, eating their food, or cheering on their sports teams, embrace that chapter of your life.
Stay in Touch
We all know this is easier said than done, but it’s so important! Make the effort to communicate regularly with the friends you made overseas. It will help you feel less isolated and real friendships are worth the effort. Bre and I FaceTime almost every day 🙂
Explore Your New Surroundings
This applies to both expats and repatriates. Get out there and explore your new surroundings and see what the city/town/village has to offer. Even if you move back to the city you lived in before your expat days, you can be sure it’s changed. You’ll also be looking at things from a difference perspective thanks to your new experiences.
~ celebrating Barbados in Toronto! ~
View Your Move Back as a New Chapter
This is key. No matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to replicate your old life. And that’s ok! It’s important to view your move back as a new chapter, not a restoration of the past.
Give Yourself Time
Admittedly, I’m struggling with this one the most. When I moved back, I was ready to organize the entire house, get back to tennis and golf immediately, and develop a routine within a week. I figured it would be easy since I’m familiar with the country. I’m realizing that not only is this unrealistic, it’s impossible. I’m still waiting for furniture to arrive, my dog ended up needing emergency surgery, which took up two weeks of my life, and I still haven’t golfed. Moving is a stressful event! It’s necessary to acknowledge that, accept it, and know that eventually, life will be normal again.
Have you ever moved back home after being away? How did you manage it?