I’m Freaking Out, People.

I’m sitting in a plastic chair, the kind that are ubiquitous in most of South Sudan. (I’m in Kenya right now.) I’m thinking about travelling back to Canada. This does not freak me out. What freaks me out is thinking that we are going to be living in Canada.

We haven’t lived in Canada since January 2007. The times that we’ve been in Canada since then, we’ve been in visitor mode. This time we’re going back for the foreseeable future. I’m excited about the possibilities of living back in Canada, but when i actually think, “We are going back to Canada to live.” i get a bit panicky.

We don’t normally ask explicitly for feedback or discussion on our blog, but this time i’m seeking out other people who’ve lived away from their home countries for a substantial amount of time & then moved back. What helped during that transition? What didn’t? Other advice for moving back to a home country?

Thank you.


6 comments on “I’m Freaking Out, People.

  1. Kristen E. Braun says:


    It helped me to be in “visitor mode” for the first few months of our time back in Canada. That sort of made the transition a little easier. It also helped to have others with whom to discuss/process the struggles/challenges we faced.

    Where in Canada are you planning on living?

    • joel says:

      Thanks, Kristen. We’ll be settling near Saskatoon, on Heather’s parents’ farm. Hopefully we’ll be able to meet up sometime.

  2. Jennifer says:

    I can’t offer good advice but I only want to offer my support. I returned to the US once after 2 & 1/2 years and I know it isn’t easy. If you ever want to talk or laugh about these obstacles that will most likely not vanish upon return, please keep my number on hand. Of course I’d be thrilled to hear frmo you both! I’m so excited for you guys on this new and uncerntain journey. You both are amazing people who I feel priviledged to call my friends… All the best, jennifer

  3. Jennifer says:

    hmmm just reread my post….need to start using spell check more often :)

  4. Dick and Kathy Braun says:

    As former MCCers, I can tell you there’s a huge adjustment to make on coming home?? (first you have to define what that means).
    Be prepared for the really “dumb” questions and comments people will make to you e.g. “oh, yeah you’ve been away for awhile? How was that?” – they’re expecting a answers in two sentences or less before they go on with their own stories. Be prepared to shocked by the “materialist” attitudes of people even ones you think should know better. Most importantly, surround yourselves with people who have had similar experiences.

  5. Marvin & HanJoo says:

    When I came back from Korea, I remember feeling out of place, like a puzzle piece that has the same shades as the other pieces but doesn’t quite fit. I can tell you that being bitter at the other pieces of the puzzle around you is a real danger and that I had to consciously look for and appreciate the good in each piece around me and the good of the whole complete picture BEFORE I let myself criticize it.

    I think I was also lucky in that I was surrounded by my immigrant students, who were going through culture shock of their own, too.

    You know, I’ve also found great joy these days in working with others with a heart to help – volunteering has also helped me see that there are people that care, even if it’s the “Canadian” way and not the “Korean” way.

    Finally, if you want more ideas on culture shock, HanJoo’s definitely got some stories to tell. kkk

    I heard you’re going to be in Winnipeg for some time; when are you coming? HanJoo and I would love love love to spend some time with you and hear your stories. HanJoo also offers to cook some Korean food for you. We were also thinking some 노래방 time with 소주 if you’re up to it! kkk

    Don’t forget you’ve got some good friends in Winnipeg (and many other places!) that are there for you. Use them. Use us!

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