Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Where the Heart Is

Ex-pat living comes with a series of topics routinely covered in polite conversation. Have you learned the language? How do you like it? Where do you feel most at home?

There are two other questions, most often asked when meeting new people in your ex-pat location. How long have you been here? How long will you be here? Unfortunately, depending on the answers to these questions some people will instantly decide whether it is worth it to invest the emotional energy and time into developing a connected relationship. Or even worse, they judge that you are not living your ex-pat life they way they do (or the way they "think" you should), so maintaining a connection is of no value or interest. It is a fascinating dynamic. 

So, back to the question of home.  We have the good fortune to travel between our home in Vienna and our home in Arizona.  What I've discovered, is that my "home" is when and where I am with my people. Regardless of the location on a map.  No photo of a castle ruin, historic old town center, art-filled museum or delicious meal can replace a single moment spent connecting or reconnecting with friends and family.  If we are surrounded by the beautiful places and spaces of the world, great, but it is absolutely not necessary.

I look forward to dedicating time this Summer to nurturing those many connections in Vienna, in Arizona and around the world.  If food or wine or Dairy Queen is involved, all the better.