Knowing When It’s Time To Go

It’s been quiet for the past couple of weeks over here. Partially because I was in Cologne visiting a friend and then friends came to London to visit, but mostly because I couldn’t write.

I would sit down in front of the computer and the words just wouldn’t come. I’d look at pictures of delicious things I’d eaten and feel uninspired. I’d think back about the few amazing days I’d spent in Budapest and just think “eh”.

Why was it impossible for me to squeeze out even a few half decent sentences?

Stress. Major stress.

My looming dissertation due date is one constant source of anxiety, but I was mostly worried about what would happen after that. Would I stay in London and try to scrape together some under the table employment while looking for someone to actually sponsor a work visa? Or would I board my Detroit bound flight on August 28 without a return ticket?

As that August date started to loom closer, I knew I needed to make a decision. I would need either need to find someone to take over my room in my flat or book a return flight to London.

After a lot of debate- with myself, with family, and with friends- I have decided to return to the United States.

It’s not a decision I’m a hundred percent on. In fact, I’m a little bit terrified. I haven’t lived there in four years. I’m so out of place on the American career ladder. I don’t feel like I know how to act American enough anymore.

But then I realized that I wasn’t going to be a hundred percent comfortable with either decision. That I just had to make one and work damn hard to make myself happy with it.

In the end a lot of it came down to the fact that I miss my family a whole lot. I’ve really never been super homesick while living abroad. Until this year. I realized that I am missing out on huge parts of the lives of the people who are most important to me. My parents just moved into a house I’ve never seen. I missed my sister’s college graduation. My cousins have kids I’ve never met or met once. I haven’t celebrated a Thanksgiving with my family since 2008. As my parents get older my biggest fear is that something will happen to them and I will regret only having spend a few weeks with them over the past half decade.

So while I am somewhat scared of reintegrating into American society, I’m also extremely excited. I’m excited for the ability to visit friends for a weekend or to go to Ann Arbor and watch a football game. I can’t wait to have screens in my window and air conditioning and to use Fahrenheit. I look forward to building a life, one that isn’t consumed by visa regulations and end dates.

Do I know what I’ll be doing when I move back or where I’ll be moving?

Not yet.

I’ve started looking for jobs. Hopefully I’ll find something in the field of communications, social media, or blogging. I don’t have a real preference for city. I’m starting to look at smaller places like Nashville and Cincinnati. Places where the cost of living isn’t exorbitant. Places where  you can still get good food and beer but don’t have to spend an hour on public transport to get there. A place I can make a home.

Even though I want some stability, I’m not looking at this move as an end or that I’m settling. I’m looking at it as an opportunity and a new beginning. I will never stop traveling, whether it’s a weekend city break in the US or a trip to Central America that I saved up all my vacation days for. And I won’t stop writing about it. Farsickness may take on a more American focus this fall, but it will still be full of stories of new places and new food.

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