Posts in Category: #friendship

Dear Anita: Advice from a Returned Expat

After last week’s blog post, I received the following message from a friend. She’s a repatriated expat, who lived in Turkey for two years.

Like me, she has many doubts about being back in the US. Many “Is this where I belong?” questions. Many moments of “The grass is greener” somewhere else…or is it? What’s it like to go back to find out?

Here’s what she wrote:

Wheels Up

Two more sleeps and it will be “wheels up” for me. Buh-bye, New Mexico. I’m returning to Chile, two days after my permanent residency visa has expired.

I’ll be entering Chile as a “tourist” for the first time in six years. Whew. How’s that gonna feel?

I guess I’ll find out on Wednesday morning. Since there’s no one renting the AirBnB apartment the day before my arrival, the owner is graciously allowing me to check in early that day with no extra fees.

The Best Problem in the World

I have the best problem in the world. What’s good about it? I have many, many friends.

So what’s the problem? They’re scattered to the four winds.

Last week, I read an article about how difficult it is to say goodbye to friends. The article was referring to the life of an expat who was preparing for a move to a new location. The author was concerned about “losing friends” in the move.

Francie Turns 21

1186293_10151825065253563_445646438_nThis week, my “Chilean daughter” turned 21.

It seems like only yesterday that I walked into her 8th grade classroom for the first time, but that was back in 2009. Francisca would have been 14 then. A quiet teenager, she came to the front of the classroom when I played Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be the Day.”

I wrote about it in A Million Sticky Kisses:

5 Reasons Expat Friendships Are Easier

unnamed-15Tomorrow, I will have been back in Albuquerque for four weeks. Seems like yesterday. Seems like a hundred years.

I want to write, but darned if I know what to write about. Do you want to hear about my comparison of bread and cookies? Would you rather hear about how everywhere I turn here something reminds me of Phillip? Can I whine about how miserably hot it is? If I did, would you sympathize with me or tell me to suck it up? ¡Aguanta no mas!

Dare I mention the crazy political climate that makes my stomach churn and leaves me feeling choice-less, voiceless, hopeless, and helpless?

Even Longer

BearWhen I was a little girl, I used to visit my grandma. We had a special relationship and I wanted to stay there with her forever and ever, where I felt comfortable, safe, and loved up.

After a visit, when my parents came to pick me up, she would stand on her front porch and wave goodbye until our car passed over the last rise and out of sight. I always had the feeling that she stayed there, for a minute or two afterward, with her hand raised in a wave just to make sure that I, teary-eyed, with my nose pressed against the back window of the car, could no longer see her.

Pillow 13

SunriseIf you think you’re having déjà vu, it’s probably because you’re remembering a photo that I posted a couple of months ago of The Shore in Leith.

I’m back in Scotland, back in Edinburgh, and in fact, back in the same apartment that I had before I left for Barcelona. I’m a creature of habit.

The first thing I did when I returned, after dropping my bags at the apartment, was to run to the Leith Market, which is only open on Saturdays. On the way back to the apartment, I stopped in at Cafe Domenico. The nice lady there had insisted that I leave my puffy coat hanging in their back room while I was away.

When in Rome…or Barcelona

unnamed-1I’ve been in Barcelona a total of two and a half weeks. To be fair to myself, I don’t count the first week because I was a total tourist then, running around town with my BFF, seeing the usual tourist places.

When I returned here after the cruise, it was a different story. Though my BFF was still here for a few more days, she stayed at the hostel while I rented an apartment. She continued doing touristy things as I started to settle in for a longer visit. Little did I know that the apartment I had rented was only available for two weeks, which means that I will be on the move again this weekend.

It’s a real shame that I won’t be here longer this time because it’s taken me a week and a half to figure out the Barcelona rhythm, much less adapt to it.

We’re British

Day 110-16Over the course of many years, I must have had 100’s of massages. After being injured in an accident, they’re more a necessity than a luxury for me. I need them to help keep my muscles from contracting and getting stiff.

When I’m “at home,” I have a regular massage therapist who knows me and my problem areas. When I travel, I have to take pot luck. Sometimes, I get a very good one. Other times, it can be mediocre, at best.

I’ve had massages in several countries. The techniques are usually similar, and I’ve always been asked to remove my clothes…until I arrived in Scotland.

Turkey Tradition

unnamed-2Holidays as an expat can be tricky. The holidays that you used to celebrate, back in your passport country, aren’t always celebrated in your new country, and if they are, they’re not always celebrated in the same way.

I’m still in Scotland and, like Chile, Scotland doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, so I’ve yet to have my turkey. Later today, I’m meeting up with other expat strangers, who are friends-I-don’t-know-yet, to stuff ourselves into a tryptophan stupor.