A visit to the homeland, seeing the family and friends is something that you look forward to so much when you are living abroad. The anticipation of
eating all that beautiful delicious food catching up in person is a buzz, but after five minutes with some people I’m more than ready to get back on the next available flight out of there.
“You look so German/Swiss/insert current Nationality of residence here’
Since Germany is most known for the fabulous socks and sandals combo, mullets and lederhosen unless I’m sporting at least one of those please just say ‘You look great in that outfit, it suits you’.
‘So tell us about your adventures’
Well last week I actually managed to successfully order the right cut of meat at the butchers, unfortunately it turned out to be the wrong animal, but at least it made dinner interesting. My life is the same as yours, it just takes place in a different country, please understand that I HAVE to get out and explore, to meet new people and try new things because I don’t have a cozy security of a support network unless I make it myself, I don’t consider that adventurous I consider it essential. A simple ‘so what have you been up to lately?’ is all it takes, and don’t forget I want to catch up with you too, don’t tell me ‘same old, same old’ I’ve been away I’m likely to be just as excited by your new car as I am to the fact that the local pub has changed it’s name (everything is news to me).
‘You should visit more often’
Unless you visit me more than I visit you/are giving up your hard earned holiday allowance to see me/know the ins and outs of my financial situation you might just get the answer ‘why should I visit more often?’, planes do fly in both directions. Please just say ‘We’d love to see you more, but at least we have Skype’ or maybe ‘next time we’ll come to you’.
‘You’re talking with a German/Swiss/Spanish etc accent’
Well if you had to live your life predominantly speaking a second (third, forth, whatever) language, you’d probably pick up a new accent too, in a normal week I only speak English with my husband, so it’s a little weird to be surrounded by it constantly when I visit. I have the dubious skill of also speaking a bizarre dumbed down simplistic version of English, with no colloquialisms and a German accent so it can be understood in Germany, it makes my life easier day to day, it’s how I survive. Give me a few days and I’ll be a fully fledged Northerner again, using words like mither and tiz, promise.
‘Are you enjoying yourself in *insert current country of residence*?’
This is a loaded question, if you say yes then you have to explain why you love current country over your passport country, which can leave you feeling conflicted, I love my passport country but I also love my current country too, and have different reasons for both loves. It is so difficult to explain the love hate relationship I have with my current country to someone has never lived away from their passport country, as Facebook would say ‘it’s complicated’. If you say no, well then you appear ungrateful and spoilt, and leave yourself open for the next question…
“When are you coming home?’
Please, if I haven’t mentioned this first, don’t bring it up. If I have a permanent job, a partner in my current country and am outwardly happy, the likelihood is that I’m not coming back any day soon and if I was you’d know about it. It’s not that I don’t think about it, especially when I’m having a particularly crappy day but living in a different country drastically changes what ‘home’ is and what it means for you. Personally this question can make me at best awkward and at worst? well there’d probably be tears.
I know that all these questions come from a place of love but rephrasing could be the difference between a fun trip and a trip I can’t wait to get back from. Are there any questions you hate hearing?
PS. I have a whole post on ‘Are you fluent yet?’ coming up soon 😉