Re-entry Blues

Re-entry blues is expat reality. 

Coming back to California after visiting Germany is always a challenge for me. No matter how long I was gone, it takes me at least a few weeks to re-adjust. The time in Germany is always characterized by many reunions and by enjoying long missed rituals and delights. I relish every moment with loved ones, every Brötchen I can get and love to wander through my native climes. That’s why I’m not really surprised about my re-entry blues. I always wonder if it’s just me or if other people might have the same troubles settling back in their expat lives. As I mention in my About section, I’ve been struggling with my expat life for quite some time. I sometimes envy all the people I have met that seem to be completely settled and satisfied with their existence here, far away from their origin. For me it’s a constant challenge, there is always this question in my head: Where do I belong?

Support for Expats

I have a friend in Switzerland who had lived here in the Silicon Valley as well.  Last year she sent me a link of the website of  Sundae Schneider-Bean, an American who’s lived in Switzerland and Burkina Faso. She is  a coach and an intercultural specialist. I subscribed to her blog and she posted a very good article about the question “Where ist home?”. A few weeks ago I had a Skype session with her in which she gave me some very good ideas how to improve my life abroad and we will re-evaluate in a couple weeks. Sundae also sent me this link about the re-entry blues that I always experience. She wrote a two part article about this topic and concludes the second part with a video. If you’re an expat and facing the same problem you might want to check it out. I learned a lot about my intercultural identity, a term I had never heard of before. So now, I’m determined to work on a better life away from home.

What feels right about your life abroad?

AI According to Sundae to get over the re-entry blues you should make a list of 25 Things That Are Right about My Life Abroad. That’s why I started making my list but I only got up to 17 yet and the order is not based on relevance.

1 The sun shines a lot. 2 California is a beautiful place and there is so much more I want to see. 3 I have very good friends. 4 We live in a nice house and we have basically everything you need and more. 5 My kids are happy and bilingual. 6 I have chickens in my backyard and get fresh eggs every day. 7 You can run or ride your bike almost every day of the year.   8 You get a smile from a stranger every day. 9 I learn something new every day. 10 I started writing a blog. 11 The ocean is only 45 minutes away. 12 I love camping in California.  13 I can go snowboarding in the Sierras. 14 I teach kids reading and writing in German. 15 We live only 1 hour away from one of the most beautiful cities in the world. 16 I speak English fluently. 17 We have a pool.

Here you can read about 7 things I love about my life in the US.

I found a couple more websites for expat support and I will continue writing about the subject.


expatriate connection


  1. sundaebean

    March 3, 2016 at 1:44 am

    Hi Kathrin – I am so excited to see you blogging! (And very honored you mention the work I do with/for expats). I see you starting to get comfortable with the beauty of your intercultural identity. Can´t wait to see what is next! BTW It is pretty great that Nr. 6 and Nr. 17 can go together. 🙂

    1. bellamonte

      March 3, 2016 at 2:24 pm

      Hi Sundae! Thanks for your comment! I really enjoy the writing and blogging once I take the time… 😉 And about the chickens: We only had to rescue a chicken once!

  2. Caroline Cromer

    March 3, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    I suffer from this “problem” also and have talked to many friends who are going through the same thing every time they come back. I actually accepted that this will never go away… it’s such a familiar and nostalgic feeling to go back “home”…

    1. bellamonte

      March 8, 2016 at 3:29 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Caroline! And I think you’re right. At one point you just have to accept this feeling as part of being and expat or immigrant or however you’re calling yourself 🙂 The beauty is that we have two homes!

  3. chattykerry

    March 9, 2016 at 8:12 am

    I have some odd advice (which you probably won’t be able to follow). It is much easier to move to the US if you have been posted to a third world country like Nigeria or Egypt. Then you are just grateful for fresh milk, running water and electricity that mostly stays on. On a more serious note, volunteering with fellow Americans really helps to form bonds with like minded people who just happen to be American. Additionally you get an insight into how American culture has helped form their outlook on life. I was born in America to an Hispanic American family with native roots and an Irish mother. I was brought up in Scotland so I have no idea where I belong but try to live in the moment.

    1. bellamonte

      March 9, 2016 at 9:34 pm

      Thanks for your comment! I absolutely agree. When we moved to the States we were looking for an adventure and a change in our lives. If we would have come for a third world country, the decision to stay here or to go back would be a completely different one. For us it is a luxury, a “first world problem” to decide whether to live here or in Germany. And I do appreciate my American friends and their positive attitude. That distinguishes them so much from the Germans. And living in the moment is something we should all do – possibly every day 🙂

      1. chattykerry

        March 10, 2016 at 5:27 am

        Sometimes I struggle tremendously about peculiarly American things – the inaccessibility to healthcare if you are poor and the ridiculous gun laws. Our German friends love living here but still have pangs for ‘home’.

  4. 12 things to keep in mind visiting your home country |

    August 1, 2016 at 8:47 am

    […] Make a plan for your return. It usually takes me a while to re-adjust to my life in California. It is sad to leave family and friends and to know you won’t see them again in a long time. It is crucial to have something to look forward to in your place of residence. Having friends over, starting a project or visiting a place you haven’t seen yet will help you about the re-entry blues. […]

  5. re-entry blues reloaded |

    August 23, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    […] it is again. The re-entry blues. I wrote about this phenomenon back in March and now I’m dealing with it again. Every. […]

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