The Expat Experience Link-Up: Feeling at Home.

Home. What a loaded word that this for me. And with “Feeling at Home” being the theme for week two of this Expat Link-Up series with my friend Molly at The Move to America, there is no better time to continue to conversation about home:

“Write about what you did to make yourself feel at home. Did you bring anything special with you or do something in particular? End with three tips that you think may help others feel at home after a big move.”

When you are a person who has been an expat in more than one country at such a young age, making oneself feel at home can be a bit of a juggling act. In my case, the move to Canada resulted in me adopting a few Canadian idiosyncrasies  and Canada felt so much like home, too, even till this day. And now that I’ve lived in America for much of my life, it feels like home here as well. Even still, I miss Nigeria and Canada dearly and, whether I realize this or not, I find ways of bringing those homes with me in America…like wearing Nigerian clothing for instance.

First day back at school yesterday!
I’m quite fond of fashion. I love how my wardrobe an expression of my personality. I also love how it can be a representation of my culture. Nigerian clothing is so unique with the bold colors and bohemian vibes and I often sport Nigerian outfits and it definitely feels like part of Nigeria is with me.

When people express the love of Nigerian clothing, it means so much because it translates as an appreciation of a huge part of who I am.

And the cool thing is when Nigerian people in The States can tell that I am Nigerian because of what I wear, usually a new friend is made in the process. That’s actually another way I’ve made myself feel at home; interacting with people who are from the same place I am from brings a piece of home in my expat countries.
When I moved to America from Canada, I often just relied on pictures to feel at home. I only had contact with family friends we had made while in Canada so memories with my schoolmates could only be reminisced through pictures. Conversations with my brother and my family about the good ol’ days as a young Canuck helped to bring home with me as well but this also brought a sense of homesickness. But then I found this.
Once, I get my paycheck, you better believe I’m buying this bad boy for my Macbook! It’ll definitely contribute to me feeling more at home, and if you’re so inclined, below are some other ways you can feel more at home!

1. While making it a point to interact with people from your expat country, casually seek out people who share the same background as you in your new country.

They may not even be from the same country as you. In fact, interaction with other expats of different origins can create the most lovely of friendships.

2. Play music from your home country that puts you in a happy mood rather than music that makes you homesick.

Music has a special way of connecting with our emotions. In order to make yourself feel at home, being aware of which kind of music makes you happy rather than homesick can be quite helpful.

3. Remind yourself that feeling at home is not a destination; it’s a process and a lifelong learning experience.

It can be quite the emotional roller coaster that can result with moving to a different country but thinking of a feeling at home as a destination can make one easily frustrated because an expat will expect to feel 100% at home in their new country. Honestly, I think that’s impossible. Thinking of the change as a process has a way of calming one down and allows for a healthier perspective on feeling at home.

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