Debi and Tom are heading back NOB, several of our friends and acquaintances have done the same over the years. Others are in the process of moving away. Why does it seem especially poignant when someone repatriates (returns to their home country)? In our fluid society, people move all the time. The average American moves 12 times in their life, according to the U.S. Census Bureau- I’ve used up someone else’s moves because I’ve moved too many times to count (I’ve lived in 5 states and 3 countries)- just in California, I’ve moved over 12 times! Every move had a reason behind it, fire, flood, marriage, divorce, buying a house, selling a house, and because the people I lived with moved.
South of Zero, a blog about moving to Ecuador, wrote Why Are So Many Expats Leaving Ecuador? which pretty much covers the reasons people give. What no one seems to talk about is that sometimes people just like to move on. They stay awhile, enjoy the new experiences and move on. Becoming a re-pat doesn’t mean you failed at being an ex-pat, it just means you are moving on to the next place.
It’s easy to dismiss someone who stays awhile, then moves on to the next big thing (often as defined by International Living) as a serial ex-pat. But is that fair? We all take vacations, serial ex-pats just take longer ones.
However, this post isn’t about them, it’s about those left behind. Whenever someone does something different, I think it causes the rest of us to think about our situations. Are they right? Is it time to move back home? Then there are the people who feel threatened. It’s similar to how some people feel if you tell them you don’t watch TV or eat sugar. For some reasons they see your actions are a judgement on their’s. I don’t know why, but it seems to be a common reaction.
Then there are the people who view re-pats as failures. Who ever said that this phase was forever? And even if we moved here intending for it to be our last home, why can’t we change our minds? People change, their needs change, and we have free will. I’ve blogged about The 5 stages of buying a house in Merida, buying a house is a metaphor, I think, for moving to a new country. That is fodder for another blog post, however.
I admire people who give being an ex-pat a try. It takes a lot of courage to leave what you know and move to a new place. However, sometimes it doesn’t work out. To be honest, if I won the lottery tomorrow, I would seriously think about moving back to California. I miss my family, as airfare gets more and more expensive, I can’t justify visiting more. Maybe I would stay here and visit there more often, who knows?
If I hadn’t come here already speaking Spanish, or if I was more of an extrovert, would I be as happy as I am? Most of my hobbies are solitary ones. I don’t belong to the Wednesday night supper club or go to the Monday night movies at Hennessy’s, occasionally we go to a party, or visit with friends. I belong to the IWC , the Merida Writers’ Group, and of course the Gorro Girls. That’s enough of a social life for me, Husband is more introverted, he accompanies me to my meetings, sometimes hangs out at MEL waiting for me, the chance chats with other ex-pats are enough for him.
Is Merida my forever home? I haven’t seen any place better. This may not be my forever house, though we love it. It’s too big for two people and I’d like more space to garden. Are we in a rush to sell, no. Last night, we sat in companionable silence on the terraza, enjoying the cool night breeze and we were content.