I’m packing my suitcases this evening for another return to Scotland. After two months in the Homeland, it’s a bit hard to say goodbye again. But it would have been hard after two weeks or two years. It’s hard because no matter how much I love Scotland and my life there, I love the Homeland and my wonderful family and friends.
It’s hard to say goodbye. It’s hard to pack my bags once again, deciding what to take and what to leave behind. It’s hard to know that I may never be returning; that I may never see my loved ones again. It’s hard to face the fact that if anything were to happen to my parents, I am so very far away.
I am a woman with two nations: One I was born into and one I came alive in. I love them both and I wish so much I could have them both all at once. But I can’t. And so I have to make hard decisions.
Do I stay in the Homeland where my family are so that I can care for my parents when and if the time comes? Do I stay there out of duty, honour, and love knowing that my soul is unsettled in the very place I’m from?
Do I live in Scotland—my Heartland as a wise friend recently suggested—where I can feel my very spirit lift the moment I breathe in the air, making my heart sing with joy? Do I live there knowing that my heart will always ache for the missed moments with my parents, sisters, and nieces and nephews?
I fly out on Tuesday and will arrive back in my beloved Edinburgh on Wednesday. I’m excited about my return; I’m excited about the start of my PhD; I’m excited about my future.
But I am sad about all of the good and wonderful things I am leaving behind to follow my dreams; my heart.
Being an expat is a wonderful thing, but it’s a hard thing. And it’s filled with many, many hard choices and hard realisations.
And the hardest thing of all is saying goodbye. Saying goodbye and wondering if there will ever be hellos again.
So please forgive me if I seem a bit emotional when you see me or interact with me over the next few days. My brain is busy processing hard choices and my heart is aching knowing that even when I arrive in the Heartland, I will be desperately missing the Homeland.