Give Yourself a Chance: How many homes do you have? I have two

“Sometimes I long to forget … It is painful to be conscious of two worlds,” opines Eva Hoffman in ‘Lost in Translation: A Life in a New Language’.

Travelling from Denmark to Brazil is a long journey, and unfortunately there are no direct flights for this route yet. Heathrow Airport, despite all the bad comments I’ve heard, has become part of my travel routine. It doesn’t matter how many times I fly there; whenever I come back home I’m confused.

Past and future important
Isabel Allende in ‘Of Love and Shadows’ points out that “all you have is the present. Waste no energy crying over yesterday or dreaming of tomorrow. Nostalgia is fatiguing and destructive; it is the vice of the expatriate. You must put down roots as if they were forever – you must have a sense of permanence.” But I partly disagree with her.

I disagree because I believe although the present is undoubtedly all that we have, the past transformed us into what we are today and dreams are what bring hope and a better future.

Travelling to my ‘second home’ is something I’ve figured I love. Sure, it’s slightly nostalgic, but it is essential to me, as it always allows me to recharge my batteries, to get some real inspiration from the city I was born in, and to be able to see my family and friends who I love so much.

Best of both worlds
Paraphrasing an article I read by Emily Nemchick, a Brit living in America, we expats have always had the opportunity to look on the bright side.

On the one hand we can enjoy the country we live in and learn from another culture and lifestyle. And on the other we can count on the promise that our native country will always be there when we go back – even for a short while. As expats we either have no home, or two – I prefer to stick with the latter option.

How about you? Are you an expat? How do you cope with your feelings? I would be happy to hear from you.