“I am sure you’ll be so thankful to be back home in your country” wrote my friend in a farewell card as all the cogs were in motion for us to leave the United States for our long considered move to France. Lavishly, empathy was extended to my husband for all the struggle he was about to face given a new language and culture. Thoughts were really kind and genuine. But, it was with a lump in my throat that I set the card aside and kept my anxious mind distracted, packing a box of kitchen items. In that moment, it was just too much to think about coping both with the grief and loss of all my bearings of this life we’d finally established in the U.S. over the past six years, on top of the grief of still being misunderstood by those closest to me.
Haven’t my friends understood me by now? No, in fact, it is terrifying to be uprooting our little family of five. It’s terrifying to live under the pressure of my old host culture needing to feel like home. And, it’s terrifying to be the main person carrying the weight of responsibility of an international move for my whole family.