Expat Life- The Little Things

Every time I come home from a trip back to California, I am a little sad. Sometimes it lasts a few days, sometimes a week and on the rare occasion- it can last even longer. I call this the post trip blues. You would think it would get a bit easier over the years when you have to say goodbye but I sometimes feel it is actually getting harder. After the initial move to Sydney, I didn’t really cry when I would have to come home after a trip or when I had to say goodbye to visitors. At the end of the past few trips/visits though… the tears have flowed.

When I travel back to California, I am reminded not just of the people and places I miss and events I’m missing out on but of all the many little things that I forget about when I’m in Australia for awhile. Towards the end of these trips, I have this dread that starts to fill me up and gets stronger with each passing day. It’s not a dread for having to come back to Sydney generally,  it’s more of a “Have I done everything I want to do? Have I bought everything I need to buy? What if I forget something? When will I next get to experience all these little things?” type of dread. It’s like a clock is ticking and I need to do EVERYTHING in just a few short days; see all the people I want to see, eat all the food I want to eat, buy all the stuff I want to bring back and experience all the little things that I don’t have here in Sydney.

Big wide open streets with tons of space, asking for A LOT of ketchup and getting more than 2 packets (so what if I can eat 10+ packs), driving to a shopping center or the beach without having to worry about where you’ll park (and how much it will cost you), the ridiculous variety of EVERYTHING- chips, drinks, sauces, burgers… it never ends, the radio stations playing music I never get to hear in Aus, having the shop attendant remind you that it’s ok if you forgot the coupon- if you bring it back next time with the receipt, they’ll give you money back; and, particularly this season all the lights, Christmas music and holiday cheer was a real treat.

I definitely think the post holiday blues aren’t just caused by saying goodbye over and over to my family, friends, dog and the house I grew up in, it’s also about saying goodbye over and over to a bunch of little things that most people take for granted each day. Some of these things are what can make places really feel like home.

So whether you live in Sydney, California or other parts of the world- remember not to take the little things for granted. That free BBQ sauce at lunch, the giant parking structure (even a 3rd floor corner spot would be a treat for me) the Christmas decorated bag at the local fast food restaurant, those are all little things that some of us really miss. Enjoy them, just like I’ll continue to enjoy my shops and cafe across the road,  my daily ferry work commute and the laughter of the kookaburras.

2 thoughts on “Expat Life- The Little Things”

  1. Elsja,

    I know what you mean 🙁 I went back home for 6 weeks and felt like it would be long enough to help me get through the time in Sydney until I went back home… I saw family and friends and enjoyed all the time with them. But still I get sad after returning and I definitely had the sense of ‘dread’ during my final few days….did I eat enough, buy enough, go where I wanted to.

    I know feeling this way is almost irrational because I am returning to Canada soon enough, but missing out on the little things that make you feel at home are truly what gets you down and homesick.

    Hope your trip home was fab! mine was 🙂


  2. I have a friend in sydney who’s name is jesssss like something but I called her jess we are tagged friend but we understanding each other quite good. But the sad thing is we don’t communicate in last 6 month, I miss her…..

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