When living abroad you get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. The norm is to not understand what is being said. If you heard English speakers around you while at the grocery store, that would be uncomfortable. You get used to all the things that feel so different, until different feels normal.
So we often don’t notice in the midst of our busy lives when places begin to feel like home. We can’t put a finger on that moment when relief comes. You just feel like you can be who you are and that you are in exactly the right place.
Halloween was a night, that when I look back on it, felt completely right. I felt as if I were again a part of a community. I felt a sense of belonging to a place. Even though I wasn’t hanging out with people I knew well, I felt at home.
I donning my purple wig (husband refused to dress up) and my child clad in her pink skeleton pajamas, wandered the streets of our village in search of ghouls, goblins, and candy.
We bumped into some of my daughters local school chums. We saw a few of my students raiding their neighbors’ bowls of candy. We shrieked with delight when one neighbor created an elaborate scheme to scare us. We were even invited into a garden for Glüwein and a bonfire. The evening came to a close with a good meal, great conversation, and much laughter.
How do you know when you finally feel “at home” in a place so far from home?
As an expat, it is difficult to know when you have finally attained that sense of belonging to a place. It is almost like that moment when you realize you don’t hurt anymore after a bad break up. You don’t know when the change in your heart occurred but you realize, in that moment, that finally all is right in your world.
We went in search of ghouls and goblins and instead found home.