My best friend is back in town after living abroad for a long while. I’m really happy to have close by, but my heart goes out to her. Like many travelers who return from a long stay, she is experiencing a difficult return to the home.
Part of the problem is because when you go abroad, you want adventure, to experience change. She knew reintegration also requires a time of rehabilitation. What she wasn’t expecting was the toll it would take on her mental health and the amount of time it would last.
Upon her return, she felt alienated in her own country. Her roots were no longer the same. Everyone’s lives had kept progressing while she was away and she felt like many had forgotten about her. She is constantly wondering where her place is. I wish I had all the answers she is seeking. Unfortunately, these are the type of question that she alone can answer. All I can do is lend a shoulder to cry on and an attentive ear to listen.
Part of the problem is that she has been traveling on and off since she was a teenager and is now looking at a 5-year stay. It’s even tougher when you have a love on a foreign ship/land. She wants to feel like she belongs to someone again. She feels lonely.
Like many expatriates returning home, she tends to want to leave in order to relive the euphoria that the state of being elsewhere provides. I am hoping that gently and unconsciously reinstatement will take hold and that her depression will dissipate.
Unfortunately, there isn’t any magical solution that will make reintegration any faster or any better.
Are you an expatriate or do you know someone that dealt with this? Any tips or suggestions for my friend?