Home or away
I’ve been here in the Homeland for nearly a month now, but I’m finding it hard to say that I’m “home”. It’s a confusing and unsettled part about being an expat: I am constantly torn between two homes and I never know which place to call home when I’m asked the question.
When I’m “home” in Scotland, I talk about going “home” to America, but when I’m in America I feel a yearning for my Scottish life some 6,000 miles away. And when I’m in America and I talk about my home in Scotland, I feel that I’m betraying my roots; I’m betraying my nationality.
I grew up in Small Town America where everyone knows everyone, only I never truly felt that I belonged and I never truly felt settled. But when I first moved to Scotland in 2001, I didn’t know a soul yet my heart was filled with a sense of belonging.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve run into all sorts of “locals” from the homeland who all want to know if I’m moving back home; they want to know if I’m back for good now. And I feel guilty and apologetic every time I say no. I feel like I’m shunning their way of life; like I’m saying I don’t want to be part of their world.
But the truth is, I’m a little jealous of them. I am jealous of these people who’ve always just felt they belonged here—or at least who’ve always just felt happy and content to be here. You see, I never had that; I never felt settled and I spent most of my life seeking out a place of peace and belonging. I sometimes wonder how peaceful my life would have been if I just felt I belonged where I came from.
When I’m in Scotland, I am often asked if I’m looking forward to moving “home” one day; if I miss home; if I feel like an outsider living as an expat. And I feel guilty and selfish when I explain that Scotland is home now and that Scotland is where I want to live my life. I feel as if I’m saying I hate my hometown; like I hate America.
But the truth is, I am torn. I am so torn over the idea of having left my family and friends behind—my history behind—yet still not wanting to return to them/it. I am sad because I can’t have both worlds all at once. I am heartbroken because I know that I may never see my parents again; I may never see my hometown again.
I have another couple of weeks in the Homeland and I am enjoying every moment of it, but I miss my home in Scotland. I miss my life there; I miss the blissful joy I feel when I’m there. And when I arrive back in Scotland, I will miss the Homeland. I will miss my family and friends and I will miss the little things that we always miss when we’re away from home.
Only I’m always away from home, whether I’m here or there. So I’m always missing something or someone.
So, here I am at home, thinking about home. It’s one of the downfalls to expat life I suppose ...