Jo Parfitt, expat author, entrepreneur, speaker, teacher, mentor, coach and general writing guru, asked,
My Answer: I am not sure about the validity of after 2 years there is no going back; after ten years I think that is most definitely the case. For the first few years I lived in the Netherlands, whenever I travelled back to England I had the feeling that I was going home. In later years that reversed and as soon as we board the ferry or train back to Holland it feels like I am heading home.
I still miss my friends and family back in England and that will never change, but when we go back there I feel like a visitor and not a native. And that is not strange after a decade away.
That is not to say I don’t have my ‘grass is greener’ moments – some things in the Netherlands irk me and there are occasions you will hear me say, “You wouldn’t have this problem in England.” But of course, no matter where you live there are things you don’t like and at the end of the day England and the Netherlands are not poles apart like some cultures are.
I feel well assimilated into Dutch society - I am married to a Dutchman so I have had to but I remain English and will never be a true local. So in a way, living overseas for ten years means that you live in the no man’s land between being an expat and being a local.
|Photo: Myles Davidson|
Does your host country feel like your home now or do you still have a feeling of coming home when you travel back to your country of origin?