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Daily Archives: September 13, 2016

Upside Down Expat

Fleeting feelings: My home trip checklist

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Manchester, vintage postcard with a rough rubber stamp

With my flight for my fourth visit home to England nearly upon me, and procrastinating over packing by writing (this checklist) currently more appealing than procrastinating over writing, I’m flying high with excitement and elation. But as always, I’m also feeling a subtle yet familiar sense of anxiety caused by the conflicting emotions trips back can bring home.

Here is my home trip checklist.

Things I’m excited about:

  • The moment I make it through airport security, relieved no inexplicably placed class-A drugs or lethal weapons were found in my case, and calculate the time I have to sit down and relax with a glass of wine.
  • Making it through arrivals in Manchester and seeing my family’s much missed familiar faces for the first time in over a year.
  • Family showering my little girl with love. And my little girl inundating family with curious questions, demands for too many treats and non-negotiable requests to pretend to be a pet while barking or meowing and crawling around on all fours on the floor, as I sit still smirking, I mean smiling, and sipping on wine.
  • 24-hour babysitters!
  • Catching up with everyone and hitting the bars of Manchester! Nights out in Melbourne are always fun, but nights out in Manchester are crazier!
  • Celebrating away some of the stresses, struggles and sadness of a challenging year for family. A few weeks won’t solve everything, but some mutual company will hopefully bring some comfort.
  • Comfort food! Crisps, chinese takeaway and chippy chips. Despite that they always leave a lingering taste of disappointment, I’m clinging to the illusion of deliciousness.

Things I’m dreading:

  • The flight when boredom, exhaustion and deep vein thrombosis paranoia sets in.
  • The apprehension and irritation of waiting in long queues at arrivals, knowing my family is waiting on the other side. It’s the equivalent of patiently waiting to pee for a long time, calm and in full bladder control, only to feel like exploding at the finish line.
  • Coming face to face with family and simultaneously the feelings I spend the most of the year trying to ignore; guilt, indecision and homesickness. Mostly though, just how much I miss them.
  • The conflicting feeling of not wanting to be the centre of attention, yet feeling a little put out if people don’t put in an appropriately polite amount of effort!
  • Feeling out of place in a place I still call home, and wondering if I’ll ever feel at home there again.
  • Manchester weather; rain, cold and grey skies.
  • The shadow of dread cast by the dark cloud of the last day.

What do you look forward to and dread the most?  Let me know in the comments below!

My blog post Making Memories Down Memory Lane covers the emotions we can experience as an expat when we visit home.

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