Tuesday, June 2, 2009

How do you cope?

My short visits to Bulgaria are always super intense. The good is FANTASTIC and the hard is not merely difficult, it SUCKS. The interesting is worth talking about for hours and the sad does not simply spoil the mood, it makes me SOB. I am very happy but also physically and emotionally exhausted.

I am not sure why that is the case... My one theory is that exhaustion sharpens the senses. Hence, the hyper-awareness and stuff. But I would be interested to hear what you guys think. Are your visits home, wherever that is, as intense as my returns to Bulgaria? Why?

How do you cope?

8 comments:

  1. A question that I've often wondered about (although I suspect the differences between the U.S. and even Germany and Bulgaria are particularly marked).

    But Heather and I have tried to figure this question out: some possibilities we've come up with: 1) unconscious slippage into family dynamics coupled with irritation over resentment at slipping back into those roles, 2) expectation overload --- trying to cram too many visits to people and places --- all of which themselves come with expectations, etc., 3) (although this might be the over-arching category that 1 and 2 both fit into) we have changed and we perceive that the world we've left behind hasn't (the facebook helps with this).

    I dunno, though. If I did, it would make visits home better.

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  2. I used to have the same problem...I felt far from the life in Bulgaria and in the same time I was craving it. I never had enough time for everything I wanted to do whilst in Bulgaria and was always crying when going back to UK. For a long time I just tryied to convince myself that this was the normal way when you live far away from homeland. And once back in UK I was managing fine until I had my daughter. Then I realised that I can't rais her up in UK. I wanted my mum next to me, the emotional support of friends. Thnks to my very understanding partner we now live in Bulgaria. He hasn't been home to UK for 8 months and still doesn't know the feeling of going back for a limmited period of time.
    Generally, I think the emotional rollercoster when back to homeland depends very much on how close you are to everything there. Bulgarians, all tgether, are very close to family and friends and this makes things more difficult when living abroad.
    I have a connection to people and land. I was dreaming of the mountains and craving some summer cherries picked directly from the tree... Now I miss some things in UK, but the feelings are far not as strong.

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  3. I also feel super exhausted when I go home. That is why I was not sure whether I wanted to even go home this summer. I booked a flight in the end, but I am planning on pretty much ignoring most people but family. Otherwise I will go nuts!

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  4. I think the pressure that people feel when they go home is due to the massive amount of expectations people tend to place on them. It might be just convenient for me to place the blame on others, but it seems as if people, in Bulgaria at least, tend to expect a lot from people coming home from abroad. In terms of having to meet all and everybody, in terms of having thrilling stories from life abroad to share, in terms of coming back with a portfolio of achievements - I did this and this, saw this and that, got paid this [very] much for this work, etc. This is at least what tends to make *me* nervous. But I choose to divert the subject to stuff that is interesting for me AND the people I am talking with, something more immediate to our shared experiences, interests, community, etc. I think it is better both for me and for the people I am talking with.
    As for the mixed and intense feelings that grip me when I reunite with my family, I think those encounters are too subjective to have any general theory about them at this point. I guess everyone copes, if they really have to "cope," in their own way. I, for now, try to behave as if I never went away. I don't know if that's a good strategy though, as I've been living abroad for a short time.. Anyone else with more experience and tips to share?

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  5. my experience was so intense a few years ago that i actually lost my voice. literally, i had no voice for a week, i had to wisper. there was euphoria, shock, joy and confussion all meshed into one. also , not completely relevant, but my hair turns curly when i go there. i'd love to contribute that to stress as well but it turns out it is the difference between the desert weather where i usually am and the humidity there.
    thanks for this post

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  6. Thank you all for sharing your experiences. Not sure why, but it helps. :)

    Something that I keep realizing is that even good things can be so stressful. I think that's one of the main reasons for the confusion I was describing in the original post.

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  7. vely, my hair also gets more curly in bulgaria. ;) i think its the water tho. haha or the lack of stress?

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  8. Coincedentally I have a blog post about this very topic waiting in my saved drafts to be completed. I haven't had a truly good opportunity yet to write about this on my blog, due to work/lack of time... It's an interesting topic, as I feel only those of us in this situation truly understand it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this as well & it was great to read what others had to say here! It's inspired me to open up that saved draft & see if I can finish it up very soon :-)

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