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Going Home? How to Bring Your American Life with You
Gabby: This is an All Ears English Podcast, Episode 106: “Going Home: How to Bring Your American Life with You.”
Gabby: Welcome to the All Ears English Podcast, where you’ll finally get real, native English conversation with your hosts, Lindsay McMahon, the ‘English Adventurer’ and Gabby Wallace, the ‘Language Angel,’ from Boston, USA.
In this episode, learn three expert tips to survive your journey home after living in the US.
Lindsay: Hey Gabby. How are you doing today?
Gabby: Doing good. How are you, Lindsay?
Lindsay: I’m feeling great today. We have Cate Brubaker on the show, the creator of “Small Planet Studio.” Thanks for joining us, Cate. How are you today?
Cate: Hi, I’m great. Thanks so much for having me.
Lindsay: Yeah, this is fantastic. So, we know that you do a lot of work (uh) in terms of re-entry and helping people (kind of) go back and make a smooth transition back to their home country. So you’re gonna (going to) offer us three tips to help people make a smooth transition home, right?
Cate: Yes, I am.
Lindsay: Awesome. So what would be the first tip that you could offer our audience?
Cate: Well, the first tip is to – it’s, it’s about how you think about going home.
(You know), we often think that it’s going abroad that’s gonna (going to) be challenging, and it is. But going home is even more challenging and in ways that you would never expect. So the first tip is to (um) not think about re-entry in a negative way.
Cate: It’s usually described as an illness…
Cate: …with lots of symptoms.
Cate: And I don’t like thinking about it that way because who wants to be sick?
Cate: So re-entry becomes something you want to avoid.
Lindsay: Absolutely, that makes a lot of sense.
Cate: Yeah. So instead of thinking about it in a negative way, (um), being afraid of it or thinking about it as an illness, think about it as an opportunity.
Cate: It’s the opportunity to take a step back, back, reflect on what’s important to you…
Cate: …(um), what you really enjoyed about being abroad and then create a global life that works for you.
Lindsay: And how would someone go through that process of stepping back and kinda (kind of) reflecting? Would they do that with friends, with family, with a professional?
Cate: I think all of those things.
Cate: And it depends on your personal preferences and it also (um), (you know), it, it kinda (kind of) depends on who’s around you and different people can provide you different perspective…
Cate: …on what you’re going through.
Lindsay: Absolutely. Awesome.
Lindsay: Great. And so what was the second idea that you had?
Cate: Well, the second one – and when you go home, (um), (you know), you’re, you’re experiencing a lot of changes…
Cate: …and you’re seeing the world differently, you’re seeing yourself differently, you’re seeing your community, your home, your family, your friends, you’re seeing everything with new eyes.
Lindsay: (Mm). Right.
Cate: And so that causes us to feel a lot of feelings. And oftentimes those feelings are mixed or conflicted. And that’s totally okay. So my tip here is to allow yourself to feel however you feel and don’t ignore your feelings.
Lindsay: Oh, that’s so important. I know…
Lindsay: …in our, in our culture, the idea is to just cover up the feeling or run away from it or distract yourself from it…
Lindsay: …anytime you feel a sense of sadness. But it’s…
Lindsay: …it’s not human to do that.
Cate: Exactly. And, (you know), as soon as we feel (like) if we go home and we feel bad that we did something wrong.
Cate: (You know), that maybe we’re – we didn’t, we didn’t do or experience abroad right or we failed…
Cate: …or we’re ungrateful for our experience.
Cate: Sometimes we don’t wanna (want to) share those things and we think other people only wanna (want to) hear about the good stuff.
Cate: …(you know).
Gabby: And you might have mixed feelings. You might be happy on one hand to be back home, closer to your family or some friends. But then you might also be kind of (um) disappointed that you had to leave, (uh), the US or, or wherever you were. (Um), (you know), you probably enjoyed some of those experiences and maybe you missed that, too. So I think it’s a very (kind of) mixed emotional experience.
Cate: Definitely, definitely. That’s what I hear from most people. (You know), they’re so excited to go home and see their family and friends.
Cate: I know I definitely was.
Cate: I was sad to leave Germany but I was excited to see my friends after a year…
Cate: …and my family.
Cate: But I very quickly felt (like) things were different…
Cate: …but I couldn’t explain how.
Lindsay: Oh, interesting.
Cate: And that was challenging.
Lindsay: Right. So in the end it’s (like) you’re the one who’s different, (right).
Lindsay: …some things have changed, I guess. But then often we’re different ourselves.
Gabby: And you grow a lot. When you travel and, and live and work abroad, you’re, you’re experiencing a lot of new things, meeting new people and you do, you do change (um), (you know), in many different ways.
Cate: It’s a lot to get into (um) just in a short episode but it, it’s a deep topic.
Cate: Yeah, yeah.
Lindsay: Was there one more tip that you had?
Cate: Yeah. So many people feel like their life was way more exciting when they were abroad…
Cate: …than their life back at home.
Cate: (You know), you, you get home and you, you really discover how much you’ve changed and…
Cate: …and you’ve – a lot of people feel like, “Oh, my God. It’s so boring here.”
Cate: So, my tip is to think about what you found so exciting about being abroad. Maybe it was the daily challenge of speaking a different language.
Cate: Maybe it was trying new foods, or maybe it was meeting lots of new people and coming into contact with different perspectives…
Cate: ..or visiting, traveling a lot, visiting lots of new places.
Cate: So, think about what made the experience of being abroad so exciting for you and you can (uh) call these ingredients and you can use those ingredients to create a recipe for what you want in your global life.
Lindsay: I love that. I love that…
Gabby: Yeah, so you can recreate those aspects that you really enjoyed. That’s great.
Lindsay: Oh, that’s fantastic. I think often we feel like (um) this sense of happiness is something that we have to just (like) be lucky to come into but it…
Lindsay: …as you said it’s more of proactive process that we need to create that for ourselves.
Cate: Absolutely. And I know, I used to feel (like), when I was at home, I was just biding my time until I could go abroad again…
Cate: …where I could be myself and be happy.
Cate: And I realized that that’s, that’s really not a good way to look at it.
Cate: You can be happy and you can be global anywhere.
Cate: And this, and this tip applies even if you do wanna (want to) go abroad. So if you wanna (want to) go abroad again, think about those ingredients and find that opportunity abroad that fits those ingredients.
Cate: Same thing if you wanna (want to) stay home and (uh) maybe you want a global career. (You know), make sure that your career has those ingredients.
Lindsay: Yeah. And sometimes it’s hard to distinguish whether we wanna (want to) go abroad or whether we want that combination of those things as you mentioned.
Lindsay: (Ah), that’s a tricky one.
Cate: Yeah, yeah. I think that’s – (you know), that’s challenging because, (um), I think a lot of times we feel like when you’re not global if you’re not abroad.
Cate: And that’s not true.
Cate: You can create a global life in so many different ways.
Lindsay: Sure. It might be moving to a big city in your home country instead of a small town, (right). That could be one example.
Cate: Yeah. (Mm-hm).
Cate: Or moving to a completely different part of the country.
Lindsay: Exactly. And with the internet nowadays we have the ability, for example, meetup.com is an amazing way to meet people (um)…
Lindsay: …from other cultures – couchsurfing, there are a lot of ways to do it, to create…
Lindsay: …that international circle. Excellent. Wow! These have been great tips, Cate. Thank you so much. And (um)…
Lindsay: …so can you let us know where our audience could find you if they wanna (want to) know more about your work in this field?
Cate: Sure. Yeah, my website is smallplanetstudio.com.
Cate: And we’re a community of travelers, expats and students who are going through re-entry and we’re all relaunching ourselves into our ideal global lives. So everyone is welcome to join us. And I have lots of free resources.
There’s a tool kit (um), that will help you figure out your ingredients, there’s an e-book that will help you through the whole process of re-entry and re-launching yourselves, and there’s (there are) also a lot of re-entry stories (uh), by travelers and students and teachers and lots of different people and they talk about their re-entry experience.
Lindsay: …that’s awesome.
Gabby: That sounds great.
Lindsay: I might take a look at that myself.
Lindsay: That’s fantastic. Well, your work is so important and thank you so much for, for giving our audience a couple of hints today. We really appreciate that.
Cate: Yeah, well, thanks for having me.
Lindsay: Oh, you’re welcome. Thanks so much, have a great day.
Gabby: Thank you.
Cate: Thanks, bye.
Lindsay: Hey guys. If you wanna (want to) learn ten ways to learn English with a podcast, come to our website and get our free e-book at www.allearsenglish.com/free.
Lindsay: If you wanna (want to) put your ears into English more often, be sure to subscribe to our podcast in iTunes on your computer or on your smartphone. Thanks so much for listening and see you next time.
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