Your first visit back to your home country is easily the most exciting. You can’t wait to see your loved ones in person and want to tell them all about the new land that you call home. However, there are a few behaviors that expats returning to the home country should avoid. Following these commandments will keep you happy on your visit, and won’t make your relatives want to drive you immediately back to the airport.
Thou Shalt Expect People to Keep Living Their Lives
One of the hardest realizations for anyone moving to another country – or even to another city for that matter – is that people continue to live their lives when they leave. You’re friends and family will change jobs, get married, break up, and make other major life changes. Yes, they are excited that you’re back and want to hear about your new international life, but they also want to talk about what they’ve done in the past few months. Try to listen as much as you talk, and accept that their lives don’t freeze in time when you’re gone.
Thou Shalt Not Overbook
If you’re only visiting home for a week or two, you’re probably wondering how you’re going to see all of your friends and spend as much quality time with everyone that you missed. In a desperate effort to see everyone, your day might consist of two breakfast dates, three coffee outings, dinner with one person, and dessert with another. Not only is this stressful (and fattening) on you, it can make your friends feel unimportant if you have to rush through one meal to go to the next.
Instead of giving individual time to everyone, create a couple events and outings. Have a picnic in the park, throw a party, or go to a bar, and then tell everyone where you will be. This way you can see multiple people in one night and still have time to relax.
Thou Shalt Not Bemoan the Lack of Public Transit
Unless you’re coming back to a major city like New York or Chicago, there’s not going to be a reliable public transportation system for you to use. This is one of the first complaints by expats returning home who are used to intricate bus, subway, and tram systems. This complaint comes twice as fast for expats who sold their cars before they left to help fund the move.
Instead of whining at home or begging friends and family for rides, go to Dollar Rent a Car and get the transportation you need while your home. Your loved ones will appreciate it and you will enjoy your visit more.
As a general rule of thumb, try not to complain too much about problems in your home country. You may have left the US for foreign soil, but your friends and family still like it here, and don’t want to hear you going on about soda cup sizes or lack of fresh markets. Instead, enjoy your time with family and laugh of the different idiosyncrasies that this country has.