October 22, 2013

Forever a Triangle

My dear friend Chelsea shared this blog about what it's like to repatriate. It was a great visualization of what the experience of living in a foreign country has been like for us.

Click here to read.

I wanted to share this here for several reasons.

I started this blog to share with you all the day to day of our journey through medical school along with the new adventures we experience. But it is also to give you a glimpse of the transitions we are facing in our lives.

It was definitely terrifying to leave our home, our traditions, our comforts and be dropped into the land of unknowns to start from scratch. Just like the blog says, we've molded some our old traditions into new traditions, we gave way to old routines and started a new blend of a workable routine while drawing from our home cultures and dabbling with the new. But we are nowhere near melting completely into the Dominican culture.

It's not something I necessarily expected to be a harder element to get a grasp on. For someone to fully understand, they do need to experience it as well. It's nearly impossible to have someone understand the culture shock and transition that can leave you feeling isolated when expatriating and repatriating.

Hopefully this blog article referenced above will serve as a good visual representation of what this experience has felt like for us. With my last trip home, I have to admit that I didn't feel quite like myself when I was home. Things fell into place, and old routines settled in, but it just wasn't the same. It was those pointed edges coming out.

In conversations with our friends who have already repatriated, it's been interesting to see how they've transitioned. Perceptions are permanently altered, values are realigned, priorities shifted and more.

I think for me at least, this blog hits the nail on the head with what I've been feeling with the recent trip home, and thinking about our time in Dominica coming to an end. So from here forward, I'll try and be more deliberate about sharing our new routines, challenges and adaptations we are facing to give a bit more insight into a life as a triangle.

I'm certainly not trying to convey this in a negative light. I am very grateful for our shiny, new pointed edges we've earned. I'm sure they will round out with more time spent back in the States, but never completely. However, my goal is to give light to what many expats face when coming home. It is a life altering experience, and we are forever changed.

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