Re-pat Life: A Month of Sundays

The blog’s been rather quiet these last months– I’m sorry for that. There’s never the time, or it’s too late, or I’m too tired. Well, I’m going to try really hard now to post regularly. Not that I have that much going on for an ‘expat’/travel blog…

colchester view town
My hometown, Colchester

For the last few years I’ve been captivated by the different and the unknown. England wasn’t right for me- you know the feeling, right? The mundane and ordinary just gets so dull. I didn’t want to spend money on endless nights out or always wanting the next best thing; new phone, new computer, new clothes, saving up for a car, a place of my own, working in a job where each day is like the last.

So what am I doing here back in England? Back at home, to the mundane and ordinary, saving up, working in a job where each day is like the last? Strangely enough, it’s the only place I want to be. Do you ever get that aching to just be home? Travelling and language barriers and cultural differences can get so damn frustrating. In Italy, I struggled to do simple things like ordering a freaking coffee. I felt like an outsider in Sicily, though it was much my own fault as I never tried hard enough to integrate. My heart wasn’t in it, as I explained in my previous post on Seeing Through the Fog.

Spring outside my doorstep
Spring outside my doorstep

For the whole month of February I lazed around in my pyjamas, caught up on every episode of the Walking Dead and two seasons of Lost, went to a few pub quizzes, caught up with my family and eventually contacted my friends to let them know I was here. I just craved crappy British television in front of the fire, the simplicity of being able to pay on card anywhere, the regular bus timetables, ordering a coffee without having to repeat myself in a nervous Italian accent three times. Home is safe. No-one would knock on the door, I wouldn’t be expected to do anything- at least for the first month.

Oh I missed you.
Oh I missed you.

I suppose my month of Sunday’s was a bit of a slump. It certainly wasn’t glamorous or enlightening, which staying in a cabin high up in the mountains or turning into a beach bum for several weeks could have been. I slept, I woke, I ate, I mooched around, I ate, I slept, I repeated. By the end of the month I’d maxed out my credit cards and knew it was time to get a job.

I bought a cheap guide book for Britain online and couldn’t believe how beautiful this place is. I decided there and then that before I’m 30 I’m going to explore the place I call home (perhaps walking the coastline, or renting a campervan) and realized that it’s only mundane and ordinary if I make it that way. My life in Sicily was incredibly mundane, and that’s not Sicily’s fault, Sicily is stunning. It’s me, and I realized that change in my life has to start with me. I started a happiness diary, I joined an online yoga study course, I started swimming again, I was reading more and watching TV less, I practiced piano.

A walk in the woods, 5 minutes from home.

So I applied to any and every kind of job in my hometown and made the best of it. I was anxious going for interviews, even just leaving the house, after what seemed like an age bound within the safety of my duvet. But I did it! I’m currently working in one of the largest supermarkets here. How’s that for mundane and ordinary?! And yet, I’m kinda enjoying it. I’m working twice as much as I was in Sicily but the hours pass quickly and there’s nothing to fret over. My body struggles but with a daily dosage of yoga, pain killers and ibuprofen gel rubbed onto my aching muscles, it’s nothing I can’t handle. I find that physical pain is easier to get on with than emotional pain.

This month, next month and beyond?

life quote

So I’ve been working quite happily for the last month and simply savouring my time at home. Working abroad you can miss quite a lot of family life- birthdays, parties, a funny moment, the good times and the bad. For now I don’t want to miss out. Home is where I need to be… at least for now!

Cheers to roast dinners and time with family!
Cheers to roast dinners and time with family!

Any serial ex-pats out there had a similar crisis to me and came home? What caused it? Was it difficult? Personally I’ve had a lot of aggravation from my folks who laid into me for not finishing my contract. They also assumed I’ve quit the travelling life altogether and they were kinda patronizing about it, like as if it was a pipe dream that was never going to succeed. I’ve been stirring with mixed feelings, on one hand, I’m taking charge of my life and directing it in a way to make me happier, on the other, I keep quitting at things. Any help? xxx

“Feeling lost is just a gentle reminder that you are trying to improve yourself every day.” – Unknown.

Hi! I'm Sarah. I dropped out of university tired with the mundane life I was living in England. Now I'm an aspiring ex-pat of the world, having already lived and worked in Vietnam, Italy and Maldives. I'm using this blog to document my experiences and hopefully inspire others!

3 Comments

  1. I’ve been battling the same emotions since I’ve been back in the States since Feb. after 8 months in Beijing and unlike you, i spent the first TWO months lying around. I have yet to find a job (out side of my writing career) and battle with feelings of worthless. But you seem to have more figured out than you give yourself credit for. The experiences you’ve had have been life changing, affirming, inspiring
    and drain the HELL OUT YOU. Living an Expat lifestyle you learn so much at a rapid pace, and that can be emotionally, psychologically, mentally and physically draining, give yourself time to recover. you were gone for longer than you been back and you’re probably a different person. And as far as figuring out what you want out of life, it’s okay not to have all of the answers-I think we’re all pretending a little bit in that area any way. As long as you aren’t being a detriment to yourself and society trust that everything you need you already have inside you

    1. What an inspiring, thoughtful comment- thank you so much.

      That initial period back “home” is really tough. So much transition. Though for me, it was definitely where I needed to be. I just needed nothing asked of me for a little while, time to rebalance- and I’m lucky I had a place to crash while I did that.

      In another post I wrote about how you are NOT a failure. You mention feelings of worthlessness, I’m very sorry to hear this. I felt the same while I was in Sicily, before making the brave decision that the lifestyle wasn’t for me, and changed it. Most people see that as failing- I didn’t compete the contract, I let colleagues down, I lost out on a months salary… Ya de ya de ya. But I know it was right for me. I picked up a job just here in my hometown and it’s nothing special but it’s paying off my bills and providing savings for the rest of this year.

      I really hope things start looking brighter for you, even if slowly. Like, I found first I started to wake up in the morning with a bit more energy, a bit lighter on my feet. A random person wished me a good day, it didn’t actually rain for once! All these little things. Actually- I keep a happiness diary. It helps me when it all gets a bit much. Hugs to you my friend xxx

What do you think? Let me know!

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