So you are coming back home to the states! You have lived overseas for over a year, likely 3-10 years, and are heading to the good ‘ol U.S. Maybe you were like me where your parents were overseas for over 30 years and you were born and raised in another country. I was, in Indonesia! I came back to the U.S. at age 19. My dad hails from Washington State with an almost pure Norwegian heritage (great grandpa came from Norway). Mom hails from New Mexico where her family’s heritage comes from Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Well, no matter how long you have been out of the U.S. life has changed and actually more changes than you can imagine.
How do you cope with the changes? Well, for me it was two steps forward, and a bunch of times, three steps back. It was tough. No kidding! I did not actually feel like an American till I was 30. Yes, 11 years later. I know many have become “Americanized” a lot sooner than I did. But still it isn’t easy, right?
At times you might think the U.S. is still in the stone ages. You may have used your cell phone to purchase snacks and drinks by holding it next to a “reader” on the machine. Or it might be where the U.S. is light years away where internet is literally “high-speed” and not “slow speed.” No matter what, you will go through changes, pulling your hair out at times, and a bit frustrated. You may even have a puzzled look on your face when you find out that your American friends think “south of the border” means the South and North Carolina line and not a border next to another country. This actually happened to me! I was so excited to think that I was able to use my passport so soon and then totally disheartened when I had to kiss my passport goodbye, for now, and place her back in her special folder marked “traveling soon but not soon enough.”
Now I get to reunite with my passport two times a year as I travel the globe for great scuba diving as well as meet up with our Good Neighbor Insurance staff in Indonesia. But I still love the words the immigration officers say at the San Francisco and LA airports, “Welcome home, Mr. Gulleson!” Yes, America is my new home and how I love her!
Here is a great article off of CNN’s web site about handling the basics of making your U.S. coming home time as easy as possible:
Depending on how long you’ve been abroad, your transition back to the United States could be as stressful — perhaps even more so — as your initial expatriation. When you arrived in your foreign home, you likely had to undergo an understandable period of culture adjustment. What you may not expect is the inverse upon your return; the expectation of the familiar derailed by the degree to which things have changed.
Please click here for the full article on http://travel.cnn.com/explorations/life/usa/ultimate-checklist-returning-us-expats-919371