Andrea Sadloňová is a Slovak-born scientist who returned home after 19 years in the USA.
Americans have many movies and Slovaks many folk stories about people traveling the world and then coming home to the small town they grew up in. During the course of the story, tensions arise when expectations clash with reality and the hero needs to get along with the locals again. There is usually a situation when the single or broken hero finds some love interest or experiences something that mends him and makes him whole again. The reality is, of course, different. While it is true that no matter where we live, we will always love our childhood home (for those with happy childhoods),some of us, if we return to Slovakia, do so because of family ties, childhood nostalgia or a desire for fulfillment of some other need.
Migration is like an osmotic gradient and people are like water, naturally moving towards a higher concentration of a positive solvent, in human terms the solvent being a positive element beneficial to people. It has always been more difficult to go against a current, which is what returning to Slovakia is a little bit like. And like everything against the current, it requires a lot of energy and many things get lost in the process. After making the dramatic jump back home, we can only hope for the best.
Some of us, the idealists, hope for a successful return to our friends and family members. However, the more pragmatic expats never stay for long once they have returned. After already experiencing the dramatic and painful adjustment and integration into a new country and culture, they do not want to go through another change that requires lots of resources and balancing the equation of loss and gain.
I belong to the category of idealists. For many years in the US, while having wonderfully happy times with my friends and people that I became very close to, I wished for the perfect, balanced life which includes having a fulfilling job, reaching self-actualization and spending every holiday, names-day, birthday or just regular Sunday evening with my family members and friends without the need to have a conversation over Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp, Viber or VOIP devices. The list of hopes goes on and on for any returning expat, but the reality is different.
Returning expats need to know that even if they plan for every scenario, the reality ends up being surprising and challenging. One can only hope that they can be creative with solutions and have enough strength to tackle the challenge. Needless to say, to face the change is to deal with the unexpected.
21. Dec 2017 at 15:15 | Andrea Sadloňová