Monday, January 20, 2014

Expat Experiences: Thoughts of a home called Tenerife


"No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home"
L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz


I am happy to take part for another week in the link-up Expat Experiences hosted by Molly of The Move to America. The prompt for this third week is 'Thoughts of Home' and this has instantly brought to my mind this quote from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and the beautiful images of the 1939 film starring Judy Garland and those cute ruby slippers. 

The Move to America

Before I ever moved abroad I always thought that after working my world around the world I would eventually return to Tenerife and spend my golden years there, enjoying a milder climate and saily walks on the beach. But that was long time ago, even before I started university and decided what to do with my life. At some point between those young dreams and the moment I actually left my home island, my parents sold the appartment I grew up and we moved to a small village away from my hometown. And then something changed in me. I didn't feel attached to the place I used to call home anymore and I was, if possible, more eager to go and see the world.

Now, living the expat life in Europe I do miss Tenerife from time and I do miss my friends and family badly but I'm happy I don't suffer from a bad case of homesickness. I don't really know how long I'll stay abroad or if I'll ever decide to try and settle down in Tenerife again. I do know I've grown quite fond of my life in Europe and returning to Tenerife does no longer seem something necessary - at this point in my life I'm happy if I can carry on enjoying a holiday there from time to time but I don't feel that I should really return. I think Dorothy must have also felt weird returning to a monochrome home after having found herself living so many adventures in a technicolour world. At least, that's how I'd feel after 'The End' words disappear from the screen. 

All these years of living here and there have led me to believe that home is really where the heart is and not so much the place we come from. I think this is an important realisation to live a fulfilling life, no matter where I am but there are always moments when I still wish I was back at Tenerife. Or at least to have the possibility go back more often. In those moments when my heart grows heavy, I often find that the following tricks pick me up almost instantly.

Take a look at old photos. Taking a visual trip down memory lane is a good way to make the expat blues more bearable and get me going again.

Cook something, anything. It doesn't need to be anything from my home country and I usually go for some new recipe to treat myself.

Write a message to my BFFs. There's nothing like hugs and kisses from the girls I've known since primary school.

What do I miss the most? Swimming in the ocean, for sure!

10 comments:

  1. Love this!

    I always think the advice people can share is so valuable, even if you've made the big move already - hence the idea for the linky - and I loved the tip about photos. I brought loads with me and now I have read your ideas, I am going to create a photo project!

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  2. So true! I'm having those first year expat blues sometimes and feel like I really want to return to Belgium someday, but then I try to remember how this all started in the first place and know that I'd probably want to go on another adventure if I went back there. It's so strange to have a 'divided' heart, so it's great to read your evolution :)

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    1. Yep, a divided heart would be a good way to define it. I think I've lost a piece of my heart to every place I've lived in so far. But even then I like to keep going and to continue discovering new places and living new adventures, just as much as I like returning to the places I know and love.

      Enjoy your time in California, Belgium will always be there waiting for you :) (and the frietjes en belgisch bier!)

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  3. Es una suerte que te hayas acomodado tan bien a vivir fuera, Irene. Yo lo paso fatal cuando en verano me voy una semana fuera de vacaciones. Estoy bien sí....pero deseando llegar a mi casa, a mi tierra. Bss:)

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    1. jeje bueno, no estás sola, yo conozco a mucha gente así. Aunque a veces es sólo cuestión de tiempo, que tb hay gente que se va sin querer y luego lo que no quieren es volver :)

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  4. So beautiful Irene! I wanted to ask you about citizenship. Is your citizenship with Tenerife? do you have temporary rights to stay in certain places? i know i sound silly, but I really don't know. if I wanted to stay in London, longer than 2 weeks or a month what would I have to get? thought you might know about lengths of stay.
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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    1. hehe Spanish citizenship - check your mail, I just sent you the whole story ;)

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  5. Great post, your last tip was spot on, keeping those connections with people that really know you is a great way to put a smile on your face!

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  6. Great post, and I agree with so much of it. I'm very late to this link up, but have now published my first three posts and I touched on 'home' in Feelings of Home - I have realised that my home is where my husband and children are, it's less a place, more a feeling. As far as missing home, I miss my family and friends, but I have been surprised by how little I miss 'stuff' - I do get the odd craving, but that's all :) Great post, we seem to have quite a similar outlook xx Sara (@mumturnedmom) - a late link up with the #ExpatLinkUp !

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    1. Thanks for commenting Sarah! I´ll check your expat experiences posts for sure :)

      I also think that Home has more todo what the people we are with than what the place we come from or where our belongings are. And I've also realized that over the years I miss and need less 'stuff' - I hope that's a good thing :)

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