What is home? When you’re an expat, I think home is more of a concept than a location. In my case, that location tends to change with some regularity. When I was growing up, every 5 years, my dad would get transferred, from Japan to the States and then back. The last time was when I was 16 and I stayed, going onto university, meeting and marrying my husband and having two kids. My parents did another posting during that time but I had a family of my own by then, so as far as I was concerned, my home was in America with my husband and two kids.
Just when I was thinking I should apply for citizenship, my husband gets transferred to Japan. Go figure. So off we go for what was supposed to be a 2 year posting which turned into 4 years. It was great exposing the kids to the other half of their culture. It made me appreciate the country that was my heritage. I had the unique experience of being able to see my country both from the inside and the outside. I met expats who had lived in Japan longer than I had, a little disconcerting for both of us.
We would go home to the States every summer, see friends and family, renew our ties with our community, go visit the house we were renting out in our absence and generally feel that our status overseas was temporary. We would soon come “home”.
Then, we added a third country to the mix. My husband took a job in London and we moved to a country that was unfamiliar to both of us. At least we spoke the language, but just barely as everything else was as different as can be. It’s been 9 years now, and we have no plans of leaving.
Of course, my husband has added yet another country to the ever expanding list of places we live, he took a job in Prague and we now have a commuting lifestyle. The kids have rolled with the punches and they appreciate the upbringing they have had. When I was younger, I wanted for my kids, exactly what I didn’t have, a house that was home for as long as they could remember. It didn’t quite work out that way, but on Sunday, as I was approaching Heathrow after a weekend in Prague, I had the distinct feeling of coming home. So maybe this is it, this is home for me.