I recently read a fantastic blog that I wanted to share. You can read the complete article by clicking here: 17 things that change forever after you have lived abroad.
Here is a quick summary of the author's findings. (You'll need to click on the link to read details of each one.)
1. Adrenalin becomes part of your life
2. But when you go back ... everything looks the same.
3. You lack the (and yet you have too many) words.
4. You come to understand that courage is overrated.
5. And, suddenly, you're free.
6. You no longer speak one particular language.
7. You learn to say good bye ... and to enjoy yourself.
8. You have two of everything.
9. Normal? What's normal?
10. You become a tourist in your own city.
11. You learn to be patient ... and how to ask for help.
12. Time is measured in tiny little moments.
13. Nostalgia strikes when you least expect it.
14. But you know it's not where, but when and how.
15. You change.
16. You fit your home into a suitcase.
17. And ... there's no turning back.
My husband recently shared a quote with me from a book he was reading that I feel nearly accurately describes how we feel about the four years we spent outside of the USA.
"There are times when I am very grateful for having spent so many years outside America, in Europe and the East, not only because it helped me to understand the stupendous things going on in the world but because it has made America a new country to me, which I will never again take for granted as so many Americans do...
"Perhaps, most of all I am most thankful for having been born in a country which, after an absence of twenty-five years spent all around the world, I found I would have chosen to be born in, if I had had the choice. Its woods, hills, streams, fields, and springs suit me. They have the fertile, half-wild, well-watered beauty which seems to me to include almost everything. I suppose everyone in the world feels that way about the country in which he was born, but the feeling is doubly important and sound after one has actually put it to the test against other countries and landscapes over most of the world."
- Louis Bromfield, 31 December 1944 (Malabar Farms)