Upside Down Expat

Fleeting feelings: My home trip checklist

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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4 comments

  1. Julie

    No class A drugs ??. Manchester weather – autumnal wardrobe baby!!! The shops will be amazing and you can nab some essential items for A/W Melbourne 2017! There’s always a positive ? x

    1. nicolaelisabeth34@gmail.com Post author

      Planted by a smuggler of course? The weather here is awful this week so it can’t be worse! Can’t wait, really looking forward to seeing you and April she lookalikes he has changed dramatically!

  2. jeff bradshaw

    I presently go back to the north west UK about every 5 years for about 1 month. The last visit in May/jun 2015 was like a food shopping trip with plans by the day of what I was going to eat and places I would travel to. For some reason I got the urge when I arrived to start looking at whether I could move back there and even looked in estate agent windows and newspapers for apartments and even a canal narrowboat. I didn’t even think of doing that before I left here. But going back showed me how homesick I really was. The sad reality hit home when I very rapidly realised I couldn’t afford it any more and what would it be like 5 years from now. At 56 I cannot get a job there and certainly cannot live on a small pension there like I can over here in the Philippines.

    I read so many posts from people who go back and feel the same and others who cannot wait to leave. For me I like the general cleanliness and organised way of living. I also like the way wildlife and heritage is preserved and respected, and the fact that at any given location or time you have much to choose from to occupy your time. It all comes at a price though, and one I can no longer afford.

    We all can complain about aspects of wherever we live, but you make your nest the best you can and have to live with occasionally being homesick.

    1. nicolaelisabeth34@gmail.com Post author

      Hi Jeff – i think that pull is always going to be there! its a shame you cant afford to live there anymore, i think that’s the thing about England, if you have a LOT of money you can have a great lifestyle can be lovely but thats not the reality for many of us and its more affordable to have a great lifestyle elswhere. that’s certainly true in Australia too. I think you’re right also, its definitely a case of deciding to be happy wherever we are, and the homesickness does become normal and manageable after a while! well it has for me, at least for now. that may changes after my upcoming trip!

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