Expat guilt: Parte Dos

The expat guilt I am currently feeling is unlike the previous one. When asked how I am enjoying living in London I often answer with, “It’s okay.” Don’t get me wrong, I love visiting the museums, having a drink at my local and popping over to mainland Europe when funds and time permit. But I don’t feel settled. I am not “home.” So I often feel guilty that I don’t love living here. I’m just not the city girl that I used to be. Having been happiest in a small big city I know that’s where I belong. And although living outside London isn’t impossible, I’ll tell you what may be: owning a house. Pay is less and expenses are twice as much when compared to life in Austin. Owning a house in London feels like a grand dream. And damn it, we want a house, with a big ‘ole kitchen.

Source: houzz.com via Mela on Pinterest

I’m in total nesting mode. I want space. And I want to fill it up with visiting family, friends and little babies (okay, maybe just one baby). I want to design and set up my sewing/craft room. I want to pick up the phone and just call my friends and parents rather than have to plan a day and time we can Skype. I want to see the rest of the U.S., driving across it with music blaring and camera in hand.

This seems like a copout but life in Austin was simply easier, happier. Expecting to continue that same quality of life in London was my first mistake, I was doubly disappointed. I was silly to think life would be the same but with a different backdrop. We are very thankful for our experiences here but we think we are quite satiated (although we won’t stop looking, visiting and doing!). We moved here not knowing if we would extend our stay in London or move back. Now I can say without any doubt that we are thoroughly looking forward to moving back to Austin in a year or so. Home is where we feel settled, where we feel at ease. Home is Austin. So why do I still feel guilty?

Engagement Photo

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This entry was published on 29/12/2011 at 10:27 PM. It’s filed under Austin, life, London and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

11 thoughts on “Expat guilt: Parte Dos

  1. That last picture is too amazing for words. I love it so much!

  2. taramoyle on said:

    I hear you completely. Many people are envious, as living abroad seems only glamorous. But it is a big adjustment, and as you say, at a certain point you want to nest and be around friends, invest in a stable job. I have the exact same guilty feeling when I have a whole day to spend in London but after a year and a half have pretty much done all the free or cheap stuff! We are looking at a move back as well but to a state where we don’t know many people. Big trade offs….

  3. No don’t feel bad about expat guilt… i think we all hit a spot where we feel like that. Nesting is a natural thing, and when you’re living in a transitory space, you know deep down that any nesting-related acquisitions are going to go to someone else anyway. It can be very unsettling.
    I have no words of advice, except to acknowledge how you’re feeling, and validate yourself by knowing that most ex-pats around you feel the same sometimes.

  4. Peter Bond on said:

    No reason to feel guilt at all – life is all about finding what works for you (and yours) to be content. I have been in the Uk for over thirty years now and to begin with I lived in the English countryside and was never really happy. Then we moved to London to be close to my wife’s parents and I felt at thome again. I guess I am a big city person at heart..

  5. Mela, I am so sorry to be only commenting on old posts now!! I’ve read most of them but I think I was in can’t cope / hibernation mode in December!

    I think this is exactly how I felt in South Africa and I lived there for 25 years. England was always home for me and I felt better when I was here. That feeling when I landed, when I knew we were moving back here for good, was incredible. I finally felt like I was home.

    I know you will feel that in six or eight months’ time.

    Strangely enough, now that I’ve finally been home and loved it, I have been thinking of moving to Cape Town. Something I kind of know, but not the city I lived in so it is different.

    • No worries! I’m glad you were able to catch up.

      I am definitely looking forward to that settled, “at home” feeling. But it will be bittersweet when we move. I will really miss England’s architecture and museums. *Sigh* And you, of course. But then I will have you visit so at least that can be sorted 🙂

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