Emily left this question in the comments yesterday and I had two other people ask for the answer, so I thought I'd do a little follow-up:
How do you feel about going back at the end of hubbie's postdoc research?
I think I made it sound like I love Graz and don't like the U.S. and that's not the case.
Like I said, living over here has been sorta like a sabbatical in the sense that we were totally out of our comfort zones and were forced to think about everyday things in a new light. We are away from friends, family and all familiarity. I don't think our life here is the same as what life is like for a typical Austrian our age that's grown up here. They probably experience a lot of the same things I was saying about the States...we just don't because we're foreigners and without a family, social circle or even a car. It makes it different. A lot of it is the culture, though, and I think Austrians would definitely have some shock going to America, but it's also our situation and not just Graz. Am I making sense? I'm giving you quite a long drawn-out explanation here!
There are so many wonderful things about home too, of course. My interview questions were sort of loaded and I didn't ask what people missed about home sorta assuming it was more obvious. Family and friends being #1. That's the HUGE biggie mama. The food. The friendliness. The job opportunities. Driving at least some of the time. Better stores. Being able to wear heels and wedges easily. ha. (see, I'm not saying I'm not into some consumerism.)
A woman from my English club spoke to us last week (she's an Opera singer that's recently relocated to Graz, but been a European expat for 25 years now) and she started out with this:
The second most miserable people are expats.
The first? Expats that have just moved back home.
We laughed. I haven't experienced it yet, but I already know it won't be 100% easy just because it's 'home'.
Some people say it's harder than moving to the foreign country.
I have discussed this with several of my friends here and what it boils down to is:
There will never be one perfect place that embodies everything you love. You will never be able to reconcile your love for two totally different places. You will always have a small yearning for the other place. And, that's ok. We should consider ourselves lucky to have the experiences and have 'two loves'. (Hey, this ain't men.)
So, my answer is:
I have mixed feelings about moving home. I have no idea where we'll go, so we aren't really moving 'home' anyways. It will be another start. And, it will be great. Really, a lot of it is what you make of it. And I would like to move somewhere a little more European in city set-up, but we'll see what happens.
Do I sound like Pollyanna? I'm so not. Whoa...moving abroad really has done things to me!