After spending the past three months in Australia, I decided to trade my swimmers for more swimmers and go to Los Angeles, California for the holidays.
Coming home after an extended period abroad always feels odd. I’ve experienced it before, after living in Denmark for a year, so I felt more prepared this time around. Still, when I hear the same dreaded question over and over again, I have to keep my eyes from rolling in the back of my head. Once is great, twice is fine, but when you get up to answering the same things 20 times to various relatives at Christmas dinner, it can get a little redundant.
Here are five questions you are guaranteed to hear when you go home for the holidays:
When are you coming home for good?
I find this question the hardest to answer because most people just don't understand. The truth is, I never really plan to settle for good. In fact, the thought of living in one place for the rest of my life scares me. Sure, I may settle back home for a year or two, but I’ll certainly match that with a year or two abroad. Don’t get me wrong—I love to see my family—but my heart is always looking for the next adventure.
Do you have a job?
While some people certainly do it, it’s quite hard to live in another country for an extended period of time and not generate any income. So I don’t know why this is such a common question, but it is.
People see on social media that I’m in this country or that, and the first thing they ask me is if I have a job. As much as I would love kicking back all day, it's just not feasible. So for the record, yes, I do have a job and no, I don't just constantly sightsee.
What’s your plan when you’re done?
I can always feel myself squirming when I hear this question. The truth is, I don’t know and I probably never will. Luckily, that’s exactly how I like it. I don’t want to have the next 20 years of my life knowing exactly what the future holds; what’s the fun in that? I want to be surprised and intrigued with life, always wondering what’s next for me. When anything is possible, the extraordinary happens.
How did you make friends?
One of the most common excuses people make about moving abroad is that they wouldn’t know how to make friends. While I’ll admit that was a big fear of mine, I learned that you just have to lean into the process. You need to accept that you won’t have a tight-knit tribe right away and just let it happen the way it happens. My biggest piece of advice when it comes to making friends in a new city; take your chances. If the barista at your local coffee shop seems really cool, ask her on a friend date. Email all your friends before you leave to ask about any people they know in the city and utilize those.
So. . . how is it?
The most general question you could ever get. I always end up awkwardly mumbling my way through a sentence about how great it has been for me. In reality (unless the person asking is genuinely interested), people mainly just want a neat and tidy answer about how cool it’s been. I find it really hard to sum it up into such a small little package. My fellow travellers will understand, you can’t just say “it’s good.” Because really it's been life-changing, unbelievable and indescribable.Add this article to your reading list