First of all, thank you so much for the amazing response I got on the article ‘How going away changed me!’ ‘How to get over your return back home?’ is a follow up on that article. This “piece of my mind” is about coming back home, and the fact that going home might even be scarier than leaving.
It’s almost a rite of passage for young (ish) girls, with feet on the ground and eyes to the clouds, to move city, country of the hemisphere. Whether as an Au pair or to study, work or just to jump heart-first into wanderlust and a calling to see the world – immersion in a different place plus working with kids full time molds and inspires huge personal growth.
But how to cope, when you move back home, after the big adventure?
You may have moved back just because for you the adventure is done, or unwillingly via the restrictions of a visa, or your big hearted family who can’t wait to have you back in arms reach. Whatever the reason, it’s never easy (but then again, nothing is easy).
Just remember, the difference between an ordeal and an adventure is always Attitude.
If you have planned exactly what you’re gonna do at home, great! Go you! For me and others, this is not as simple as it sounds. I hope to shine some light in that dark thing called the future. So again, here’s to us. The good, the bad & the unknown!
You have changed, so bring that person home with you!
You’re a different person after being an Au pair, of course! And to be honest, with the experiences and stories you’ll have collected along the way, how could you not be? Traveling, living and working abroad is a fast tracked pathway for learning, changing and growing. I was terrified that by coming home, my environment, history, or old connections would take me back to my previous self. I am here to tell you, simply – it won’t. It doesn’t work like that. Your time away will have shaped and evolved you – the people at home will not prevent you from staying the person you have become, if you don’t let them.Continue to be the person you have become!
Remember that just as you have changed, so will have the others who remained.
Depending on how long you’ve been away, this is a very good thing to remember. Even though you had the opportunity to change while working in an awesome country for an amazing family, people change all the time, and it doesn’t matter where they are, they just do. So chances are that the people you are coming home to, might not be the same as when you left. While life at home may not have moved at the same speed, life will have shifted along without you. Know this, and anticipate it. Be open to these changes, and adjust to them, as your family and friends will do for you!
Reverse culture shock IS a thing, so be nice to yourself!
Chances are, you’ll wake in the middle of the night and be completely disorientated. You’ll forget the names of streets you’ve driven down hundreds of times before. It will take some time to reintegrate. It’s important to surround yourself with the people you love, visit old places together. But most importantly, make new memories at these places you’ve known all your life! It will take some time to adjust to the place, even if you’ve spent all of your life there and everything is familiar, give this time.
Accept that you may never ‘belong’ anywhere again.
This is a scary one, and it doesn’t happen to everyone. But there is a chance you may not feel you ‘belong’ anymore, anywhere, ever. After you’ve seen the world, the home will be familiar, and likely, a whole lot easier for living everyday life
Even if you returned to where you have spent all of your life, you may not feel at home. Seeing the world gives you depth. Your eyes widen, your heart expands.
It’s surreal to have the realization you no longer belong to a place, but know this; you don’t have to!
You belong to yourself and the people you love, always.
One more thing. Never forget how strong you are for having moved away.
The experience as an Au pair, that you have lived, whether it contained joy, heartbreak or adventure or all of the above, are all character building. How better to have experiences this, than never have experienced this at all. We know so well that being an Au pair, and all the changes, challenges and adventures that come with it, can be scary. But we’ve been there and done that, that’s how brave we are! The outlook you have on life after your Au pair year, changes, and so have you.
And to be honest, we never really stop having adventures, do we? Celebrate it, enjoy it, and put everything you learned back into your life at home.
Amaze them, amaze yourself.
All my love,