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Candid thoughts, post-expat life.


A few mornings ago as I sneaked a peek inside my diary to plan out the upcoming weeks, I realised that back in September, I noted down that day – Friday 10th June 2016 – as the day I’d move home to England. It’s been a four months since I moved home from Hong Kong and back to England for good. Four months since my weekend of manically boxing my worldly possessions up, four months since I left the tropical city behind and four months since my Granny passed. Even now, I’m finding myself arranging catch-up meals and afternoons with my friends and finding myself repeating all manner of reasons, excuses it feels like, for coming home, tail between my legs. Why is it that there’s a huge stigma around ‘coming back’, returning to something you’ve always known?

I thought I’d take today as an opportunity to note down some candid thoughts about moving home from Hong Kong and quell a hundred questions that I answer all the time.

Back in September, Granny Daisy was diagnosed with bowel cancer in addition to her breast cancer diagnosis. I didn’t need more than a quick Google from the other side of the world to send me into an extended period of worry and anxiety; bowel cancer is renowned for being one of the most aggressive types of cancer and it worried me sick. And for weeks on end, I anguished about her diagnosis, knowing Mum would let me know if there were any complications but also knowing in my heart of hearts that Mum simply didn’t want me to worry. I only told three people: my very best friend Ebony, and Sarah and Aisling. Somehow, I had it in my mind that if no-one knew, it wouldn’t be true. Of course over Christmas, I managed to get some time off work and fly home to spend some quality time with my family and friends and my first port of call, 1 hour fresh off my flight, I bought Granny’s favourite biscuits and nested at her place for all the hours I could muster. She was fine, she seemed fine. They say in someone’s final few weeks, suddenly the individual gets a burst of vitality and life, and I suppose the Christmas period was that period for Granny Daisy. And so, on my final day at home before jetting back to Hong Kong, I promised Granny Daisy I’d be home for good in February to hang out with her, to bring her tea, to eat cake and tend to her vegetable patch. I came home, but she never did again.

I could list a hundred reasons of why I moved home but none would be as poignant and real as the above.

Honestly? Towards the end of 2015, I felt quite alone in Hong Kong. I've written countless pieces on the blog about being alone but not lonely, and despite my best introvert efforts, I ended up feeling quite lonely more times than not. Perhaps it was seeing other twenty-somethings truck on through the perils of working weeks and saving nonsensically for fabled mortgages and going on holidays together and having a cosy support network, but I found myself craving all of the home comforts that I'd so happily given up just a year ago. I kinda envy those who travel and take missing milestones in their stride but I began to resent missing birthdays, my best friend's engagement, her hen do, all sorts of things. I even missed Nando's ;) I reconnected with a best friend that, oddly enough, no longer speaks to me who encouraged me to pursue whatever I wanted, whether that was to trek it out a little longer or to come home and try things again here.

But I moved home, ultimately, for me. For the comfort of being home and being able to pursue my hopes and dreams and set-up my little business. To be back with my friends who are my cosy nest. To be safe in the knowledge that I came home like I promised and to make sure my Mamabear was okay as could be. To come home before things changed too much, knowing that I'd pursued my dream of a lifetime to live abroad. Often I'm asked whether I regret moving back to grey old England and my honest answer is no, you create your own happy wherever you are in the world, and right now, for me, that's here.

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