A little more than a week from today -- next Tuesday, February 9, to be exact -- I will begin the arduous, 14-hour journey to the US where I will spend 10 days visiting family.
I have many mixed feelings about this trip. On the one hand, I am looking forward to seeing my family, some of whom I have not seen for two and a half years, and on the other hand, I am dreading the travel time it requires to get from Izmir to Istanbul to New York City to Connecticut to central Pennsylvania to Philadelphia to New York City again to Istanbul to Izmir.
All in 10 days.
Unlike some of my other expat friends, I don't get back to the US very often. In the two and a half years that we have lived in Turkey, Jeff and I have gone back once, in August 2008, when he defended his dissertation in Philadelphia. Our immediate families have all come to visit us at least once during the time we've been here, and for that reason, it has not been particularly pressing that we get back.
But it only seemed fair that we go back now because, after all, it's been a year and a half since we've last been. Plus, February is when Jeff has his semester break from school and airfare to the US is much, much cheaper now than it is in the summer months, when I would much prefer to spend my holiday in Cesme than the eastern seaboard. Sorry, Pennsytucky, but you got nothing on the Aegean.
There are some things about the US -- other than seeing family -- that I am sincerely looking forward to. Mexican food, for example. Indian food. Pubs. Stocking up on tampons and Tylenol at Target. And visiting some of our favorite old haunts in Philadelphia, where I plan to gorge on shopping and drinking and eating for 48 whole hours.
There is really not much that I miss about the US. Forgive me if that sounds flip or cruel, but it is true. Although sometimes I do get frustrated with Turkey and sometimes I do romanticize life elsewhere (although usually my fantasies take place in the UK or France, not the US), I really do like Turkey. If I didn't, I would hightail it outta here in a heartbeat.
I sometimes wonder if I am an anomaly among expats, like I should be really, really excited to go home all the time every time.
I am wondering how you all feel about going "home", wherever that may be. Do you go back every chance you get? Are you always excited to go back? Or are you conflicted about it like I am?