January 31, 2004
Past the point of no return?
When do you know that you've passed the point of no return? According to this article in The Age, if you are Australian, it is after you've lived overseas for five years. That means I reached it about six months ago.
Please don't tell my mother . . .
Posted by kimbofo at January 31, 2004 03:40 PM
5 years? does this apply to non-Australians, too? ;) If that's the case, my point of no return passed 1.5 years ago. It sounds a bit final, though.
I've heard the figure of five years several times from various people, and for all nationalities. I passed that point 1.5 years ago too, and can certainly believe it. I've grown and changed in ways I never thought possible, mainly due to expatriate experiences - I could never go back to my home country (the US) and fully readapt. I guess you could say that after five years, you become a citizen of the world rather than just of your home country.
I myself noticed that I stopped being homesick - in any way- after about 7 years.
Always was a bit slow, I suppose.
Sue's comment surprised me. My mother always said 'Try to salvage a marriage until you reach 7 years, because the first 7 years are the worst.' Maybe she was right and maybe the same holds for adapting to living in another country.
Roberta- it really is true that it took me 7 years and I often was reminded of 'The 7 Year Itch'-
It was at that point that I noticed that I didn't miss the little things any longer, like the New York Times Sunday puzzle, that cambell's soup had too much sugar for my taste and that the oils used in making certain sorts of chips ( in the States) tasted rather, well, rancid to me.
Seven years, maximum, sounds about right for me too. And that's interesting what Sue says about not missing the little things anymore. Oreo cookies are too sweet now, and taste like dirt, etc. All I miss anymore are the people, and details from my past lost in history now, like the woods and fields where I used to play, now a Target parking lot along with the house where I grew up.
It's good, hearing this. Two and a half years out, and just back from three weeks stateside, I find myself for the first time contemplating returning, yet knowing deep down I'd be sad to. Seven years. I always said five and see, five and see. The friends change, as does the scenery, some times so much and so quickly. I only felt comfortable in Manhattan, surrounded by many people who weren't speaking my language.
In my second Australian summer, 1.25 years out of NYC, all I miss is winter.
Greg, for the first three years or so of living in the Netherlands, the novelty of it all pretty repressed any serious home sickness I might have felt. But after the first few years, when windmills became old hat, when the charm faded somewhat, then I became really homesick- for all kinds of little things. Being able to buy books in English that were affordable and to my taste, going to a mall, Doritoes, magazines, and on and on.