Expat Experience: Thoughts of Home

This post may be long overdue but I don't want to miss participating in the Expat Blogger Link-up called The Expat Experience hosted by Molly @  The Move to AmericaFor this week's theme "Thoughts of Home," we will share what we missed the most and if we have experienced expat blues. Join in the fun by clicking here and feel free to share some love.

The Move to America

When I first moved to Dubai, you might think it's a ridiculous statement, but in all honesty, I didn't suffer much from homesickness. You might think, "What??"

The thought of homesickness did cross my mind during two rare occasions; once was when I was living alone while physically ill and when I had to work during my first Christmas Eve in the Middle East away from family.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you might have read that I was ecstatic when the Dubai-bound plane took off. I watched my country shrink from my airplane window with glee. It took me many years before I came back to visit my home country after my first departure. I suppose because...

I have always been a lost soul trying to find where my home is. 

Since these are my thoughts of home and it may not necessarily be homesickness-cure related- Sorry (apart from the home-cooked meal cravings), I would like to share a past post in trying to find where that home is.

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Finding Home
The past decade, I spent all my life looking for that perfect feeling of home. This quest motivated me to start traveling. At a tender age of 4 when I grew fascinated by a book that my Mom gave me, the fire in my heart to leave my country burned so bright.  Somehow, I felt I didn't belong there.  It is a beautiful country to see as a tourist, but at a young age I felt like an alien. I  remember looking up at the night sky wondering if before we were born, we were given a choice, maybe there was a mistake. There was something missing. So this search for home and peace, wherever that may be, became a distant goal.   

Throughout those trips, I took in their beauty and got acquainted with every place I visited. You might have noticed that, I always write about France because it is a country, where I first felt that feeling of "home". Yes, I'm definitely a Francophile. France is my refuge where I go to, to recharge. If in need of inspiration, there's plenty there. It's even amusing that every time I left France, I always start crying in the train.  I'm just weird like that.  When I am in Dubai, I  listen to french online radio and bask in the beautiful voice of their advertisements, indulge more in french cuisine and watch a lot of french films because they somehow make me happy. 

Until recently, I found peace, that goes beyond things or places. I still don't know when I stumbled upon it.  I found it right after a really dark period in my life  when I finally decided to give up the search.  My last trip to France, in September 2012, I was surprised that I didn't cry in the train anymore as I watched the platform disappear.  

You might notice that I started writing a lot more about where I temporarily live now. I am happy to be able to see the beauty of what I once saw as a mere sand pit and a massive city of cranes.  I suddenly noticed this appreciation for how red the sand is or how the sky can also be blue here (back then they always looked brownish grey all the time).

I'm holding on to this peace that I have found.
Maybe this time,  I can make better memories 
and finally find closure to a place I'm supposed to call home.

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Lately I have realized, how seeing my home country again after this post, being away made me appreciate it more. Top three things I miss:  
  1. Tropical rain 
  2. Adventure in the islands
  3. Bonding with my brother and sisters

Being away for far too long, I still sometimes feel like a stranger in my own country. 
Yet, I have made peace with the past and renewed my relationship with motherland.  

To those who feel like an emotional nomad like me, here are three tips:
  • Keep searching and you'll discover a lot more about yourself as you do so.
  • Re-visit the place we are trying to run away from and view it with an open heart.
  • Let go of the past and forgive.  Forgiveness opens doors to a lot of surprising things that await you.

Love & Light,

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  1. I really enjoyed your blog . What an amazing experience

  2. It's tough to let go of past experiences and experience each new one as exactly that, with a blank slate, but I think most people are surprised by what happens when they do. I'm glad you shared your feelings of home and the multitude of emotions you have in each place you go - I often feel the same way about "home" and the many places that hold that place in my heart

  3. wow, arni. i really like this post. it's not the same for me, but i always wondered which state to call home. i grew up in jersey and that's where my family had a home. but due to certain circumstances we lost our home and my mom went to live with my brother in georgia, while my dad had to go back to korea for work. at that time i was in school in upstate new york and never had an attachment to georgia. i then lived in new york then in california then back to new york where i married. then moved to maryland and now i'm in virginia. i call my hometown new jersey because my childhood is there but it's not a place i can go back to, to call it home. we're trying to figure out where we as a family can call a place home... i know it's not virginia.. not sure if it's new york.. i've been thinking of moving back and settling in jersey but it's just all weird and unknown to me. it's not an expat experience but the theme of finding a place to call home hit a certain spot in me where i somehow felt like i could relate~ hope you are well~~ and hope you have a wonderful weekend~

  4. An interesting post which really made me think. For me England is home but I'm a true francophile and having lived in France for a year some time ago, I do feel a sense of belonging there whenever I visit. As you know from my blog, we visit Dubai regularly and each time we find more to appreciate.

  5. This was a really beautiful post, Arni! I wish all people would be able to travel and visit different countries like you!

  6. From one emotional nomad to another, enjoy the ride.

  7. I don't think that admiting you didn't feel homesick for a long time is a ridiculous statement at all. I felt the same way when I first moved abroad - and yes, I thought that was wrong from time to time. But I cannot change it! I think that just like you I've always felt somehow disconnected to the placeI come from and I felt the need to go out, explore and find a place I can call home. Only after leaving the Netherlands this summer I began to feel homesick for the first time and I wasn't missing 'my home'. I was missing the Netherlands! How weird is that?! I totally agree with you that home is in our hearts, it is where the heart is.
    I enjoyed re-reading this post again :)


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