I’m half-awake, sun is beaming through the window and I muttered to myself “finally I’m home”. Suddenly all my memories from childhood started gushing in. Remembering those nights when my father used to carry me on his back whenever I fell asleep in the living room. The days when my eyes are half-closed for 2hrs pretending to Mum I’m sleeping during afternoon siesta so I can go out and play with my friends afterwards. I can always remember how I used to love sliding through the wooden handrails in our stairs and never stop until my Grandma screams from ear to ear. (I miss you lola!) God, I miss my childhood! It definitely relived all those memories and felt a sense of nostalgia. And for some reason I felt safe and reconnected to myself. When I say safe, I mean I’m back in the comfort of the people who truly loves me, no matter which choices and wrong decisions I make. In other term, I am in a place whom I don’t feel anxious and waking up early for work is not necessary.
I knew my mum missed me a lot and I do more to her. I’ve never felt so close to my mum until today. “Dito ka nalang kaya ulit?”. Mum asking me to stay back home for good. I didn’t answer back. I wasn’t ready for that question. After a few moments of contemplating, I tried to come-up with an answer or I guess an excuse. “May contract pa ko Ma na dapat tapusin, 2 Years kasi un”. Its true that I do still have a contract to finish, but I felt I am not ready to move back as of yet.
This is a new version of myself coming home, an underlying problem of being an expat abroad: its different. I knew a few expats who share the same sentiments with me. I also knew some who regretted staying abroad, but I knew more who regretted staying back.
“Why do we go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” – Terry Prattchett, A Hat full of Sky
I just don’t feel I have fully-figured everything out and maximize all the possibilities of leaving from a foreign country. Like every other expat I know I still hold unto my purpose before we hop unto that plane carrying all the buck of our hopes and dreams for our family and even to ourselves. Guess I may have that “Peter-Pan Syndrome” or just the thought of me entering middle-age with nothing is just frightening. I am still on that process. My future still looms grim for now as per my judgement.
But I am certain as well that living in our host country is just temporary, a “transit place” as I call it especially UAE whom no matter how long you stay, there’s never a chance of getting permanent residency.
Its seemed embedded in people’s minds, perhaps the media has got it all wrong and romanticized the idea of living abroad is easy, making it seem effortless rather fancy, except that its undoubtly exciting and envigoratingly fascinating, more often than not, its not the place we’re in it forever. I may be coming home, but not today.