I’ve noticed something happens to me as soon as I book my flight. It’s as if I’m ok with living in a foreign country indefinitely, and then as soon as there is a set outbound date everything changes. I try not to get excited or anxious about going back to the U.S., but it seems subconsciously I know: your time here is finite. It’s ok to get annoyed with every little thing about your current country because soon you will be going home again.
Seven weeks from tomorrow I will be on my way to Denver. It’s not exactly home, but it will do. And yes, I’ll be staying in a hotel, and yes, I’ll be working for a majority of the trip, and no, I won’t see my family, but I’ll still be able to order Uber Eats and go to a mall and speak English at all times. I’ll get to see two of my favorite people for a few days at the end of the trip. I’ll get a chance to breathe.
I’ve talked about this before, but taking a break from expat life is pretty vital to my mental health. Unlike Dushanbe, where we left for post not knowing if we would make it back to the States at all during our two-year tour, Tbilisi already had a return date scheduled. Two actually. I knew I would come back for my annual meeting, and I knew we would both come home for the August of weddings. And now there’s a third with a wedding in October! However, even knowing all this it didn’t seem to make a difference in my attitude towards life over here. I’ve had a few tough moments, and I’ve stared down the culture shock car crash many times, but overall life in Tbilisi is easy.
And suddenly, the moment I purchased my ticket to Denver, things changed.
Life in Tbilisi is still really good. We’ve been exploring, eating at delicious restaurants, and having fun with friends. I finally got my car working properly so I’ve been enjoying much more freedom when it comes to grocery shopping and running errands. But as easy as life is over here, I still always miss the comforts of America.
I miss grocery stores with everything you would ever need all in one place. I miss walking the dogs in our adorable little neighborhood in Edgewater. I miss Starbucks, not even in an “I miss their coffee” kind of way, but in an “I miss the pop culture experience of going to Starbucks and trying the Unicorn Frappuccino or Ariana Grande whatever drink that everyone is talking about right now” kind of way. I miss feeling 100% at ease.
I think for me, knowing that on May 25 at some God-awful early hour I will drag myself out of bed, trudge to the airport, endure 25+ hours of flight crammed in economy class, and finally arrive on American soil where a customs agent will say “welcome home,” amplifies all those feelings. As much as I can enjoy life as an expat, I will always be an American girl at heart, and I will always miss my home country.
I’ll see you in seven weeks, America. Save one of those apparently controversial Ariana Grande cloud coffee things for me, would you?