Tom and I got back from our first trip back from The States on Monday. We spent a wonderful ten whole days visiting with friends and family celebrating the impending arrival of our little one (two months to go!) and the upcoming holidays. When we first booked this trip I thought it would feel like we were going back home, but instead it felt more like attending a college homecoming event after you’ve graduated: that bittersweet feeling of visiting a place that once felt like home.
I talked to some partners of a couple of the guys Tom works with who immigrated from different countries to Dublin before us. We talked about feeling homesick and what it was like for them to get adjusted after moving to a new city. One said “When you go back it will never feel like home again.” It’s not that I didn’t believe her. I just couldn’t imagine feeling that way when I had spent my entire life in Massachusetts.
The week before our trip I was having a hard time. The days in Ireland were mostly gray and turning pitch black by 3:30 PM and Tom was working longer hours than normal. I’m sure the pregnancy hormones weren’t helping either. I was concerned that the trip would be completely heart-rending. We would be stopping by the house (sale pending), driving our old car (not sold yet either), and visiting our friends and family. I was afraid this trip would show us everything we left behind, and that those feelings would be so overwhelming, I wouldn’t want to go back to Dublin.
While talking to Tom about this fear through tears I told him it felt like maybe it was a sign that neither our house nor our car had sold yet. It would be pretty easy for us to move back with a place to live and a way to get around just waiting for us. Of course moving back wouldn’t actually be easy. Realistically I knew that the house not being sold was a dangling loose end from our old life that I was looking at through rose-colored glasses. And not having the stuff from our shipment, the stuff that reminds me of home, wasn’t helping me to feel completely settled yet. Not being able to make a Thanksgiving dinner for us was really upsetting for me, and it looked like we still wouldn’t have our shipment (and my kitchen stuff) in time for Christmas either. Our Christmas tree this year would be missing the dozens of ornaments I’ve collected over the years.
Overall we had a wonderful trip. I had a beautiful baby shower that filled me with immense love, gratitude, and even more excitement for February! During the rest of the trip spending time with friends and family made the feelings of homesickness and loneliness I was feeling before the trip disappear. But in the end those other ex-pat ladies were right: nowhere we visited really felt like home. Tom and I actually found ourselves referring to Dublin as “home” in conversations.
In general the trip cemented our plans for me. And seeing everyone confirmed that I do want to come back to The States when our 4(ish) years are up. We’re so blessed to have so many wonderful people in our lives who love us, and I don’t want to deprive our little one of the chance to grow up knowing and loving these people too.
A HUGE “Thank You” to everyone who hosted us, spent time with us, and helped make this trip feel so special in general. We love all of you!
Some good news since coming back from the trip: our shipment is due to be delivered today! Tom and I will be opening boxes of our belongings for Christmas, and after four months without this stuff, I’m sure at least some of it will be a pleasant surprise. I’m really looking forward to making a nice Christmas meal and being able to do more cooking and baking in general.
*Credits: GIFS courtesy of GIPHY.