Posted by: Andrea | June 18, 2008

Pining for a badly needed holiday

On Friday morning, at exactly 5:55am, I will climb aboard a plane to take me around the world and back home to the Pacific Northwest.  I haven’t seen my parents (or my dog!) since Christmas and I am EXTREMELY excited about this visit.  I’ll be home for just over two weeks and will be attending a wedding, a bachelorette party, a rehearsal dinner/July 4 BBQ shindig, a family reunion at the beach and a birth (if the baby in question can be so kind as to enter the world on schedule).  Don’t worry, they’re not all for the same person. 

So I can’t wait to go for long runs with my dog, catch up with my family and EAT.  I’m dying for some Krispy Kremes, Cold Stone Ice Cream, Jiffy Peanut Butter, TONS of Thai food (where is the Thai takeaway in Glasgow?  WHERE?!), Oregon strawberries, white cheddar cheetos and twinkies.  No, I don’t normally eat like this, but for some reason I really miss all the junk food I can’t find in Scotland.  Except it usually only takes one twinkie and one krispy kreme and I realise why I never really ate that stuff when I lived at home.  But everything I can’t get on a regular basis suddenly gets this nostalgic glow and there I am, eating twinkies!

I’m excessively excited about this visit home not just because of the wedding and the family reunion and the imminent birth.  It’s also because over the past few months I’ve been feeling very homesick, something that honestly hasn’t really happened to me since I moved here almost four years ago.  I’d get a bit homesick but I’d go home and when the time came to go back to Glasgow, I was very ready to come back to Glasgow.  This time though, I’m feeling really really homesick and I don’t think it’s of the easily-gotten-rid-of variety.  I think it’s more of the is-it-time-to-move-back-? variety, which is much harder to know how to cope with.

I’ve been feeling sort of unsettled lately, in that way in which I don’t really know where my life is going or where I want to be, but I know I want and need a change.  I desperately miss my family and very much want to be back home near them, but at the same time I’d be very sad to leave my good friends here.  I hate that everything I own or consider buying has to fit into a suitcase, because I know that I’m not really going to be settling down here.  I very much want to buy some furniture, own my own place, even get a pet, but I have no idea when that will actually happen.  I’m terrified about the prospect of applying for a job again (because seriously, what is worse that job searching?) especially since all of my experience in my chosen field is in another country.  Who’s going to hire me?!  Plus I wonder if I’m wasting all of my prime dating time living in a country in which I’ll never actually find the love of my life, because men here all seem to be conservative and homophobic and all are very far away from my home and family!  And then I feel completely lame for even considering changing the course of my life for a man I HAVEN’T EVEN MET YET. 

Needless to say, pretty much every day all of this is swirling around in my head constantly and I’m nowhere near getting closer to a decision.  Do I stay or do I go?  There are a lot of things that are impacting on this decision: money, friends (there and here), family, employment.  It’s a huge step to take, moving back home, because I’m effectively saying that I’ve finished with the whole ‘living abroad thing.’  It’s having to admit to myself that this period of my life is over and I’m actually growing up.  That I care more now about family and settling somewhere than about having amazing experiences and being that crazy world traveller that everybody thinks is pretty cool but says ‘I’d never be able to do that!’ to at the high school reunion. 

Living in Scotland was something that I yearned for with all of my being when I was 24.  I used to hear about people who’d lived here and moved back home and pitied them, because they gave up on their dream.  I was so sick of living at home, I wanted to get away from the same old place and the same old people and really LIVE.  I still don’t really know if I’ve LIVED in the all capitals way, but I’ve definitely had a great life here.  I sometimes find it hard to write funny little Scottish anecdotes for this blog because it’s just my life now, I don’t even really notice when things are a bit strange.  They’re just life here.  But as much as I love the Scottish life, I can’t help the yearning in my heart to be closer to my family and to actually be able to settle down for awhile.  I do love it here, but it’s not my home.  Nor will it ever BE my home.  It’s just a stopping place for my twenties, a place to learn and grow and hopefully mature (just a little bit) before returning home a bit more settled.  Hopefully with a bit less wanderlust, or else my mom will probably start handcuffing me to the house to keep me from travelling away from her again.

So now I’m torn.  It basically comes down to this.  When I got my job, I agreed to work here for three years and the organisation I work for agreed to pay me $2000 per year as a bonus for staying the full three years.  If I leave early, I have to return the money.  I’ve been here a year and a half, January will be my two year anniversary.  In order to be a more attractive hiring prospect when I return home, I need to work here for at least two years.  So my big dilemma is, do I leave early and forgo the money that, frankly, I sort of need in order to actually accomplish the move in the first place?  Or do I stay here another year (well actually a year and a half from this moment), thereby spending more time with my friends here but also postponing the next chapter of my life?  I kind of feel like I’m in a holding pattern if I stay because as much as I adore my friends here, I also know that it’s ultimately not where I want to be for the rest of my life.  So I’m sort of postponing my LIFE, in a way. 

Basically I have NO idea what I want to do.  All I know is that I’m going home where I can hug my parents and cuddle my dog and not think about all this crap for a few weeks at least.  And maybe the answer to all of my questions will fall out of the sky and hit me on the head and I’ll just KNOW where I want to be.  Seems better than my choices at the moment, which so far have included going on long runs, watching lots of tv and constantly dithering about what I want to do with my life.  Go home?  Stay here?  Go home?  Stay here?  SOMEONE JUST TELL ME WHAT TO DO!!!

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