5 Things I Wish I Knew Before We Moved Back to the States


My family lived in Wiesbaden, Germany for three years. The day my husband came home with orders overseas, I jumped up and down in excitement. The day he told us we had to go back to the States, I sat down and cried.

If you’ve been able to live in Europe, this post probably won’t surprise you. There is something about living there that changes you. As much as I love our home here in the States, a piece of me will always be yearning for Germany. If you are still lucky enough to be living overseas, here are some things about coming home that may surprise you:

Moving Back to States Horizontal Graphic

Reverse culture shock is real. 

This one is difficult to explain. Feeling out of place in your own home is a thing. It took time for the kids and I to adjust to saying “thank you” instead of “danke.” They hardly remembered living in the States, and they were confused by everything from the way American toilets flush, to the types of door handles we used. The first night we were back, we stopped at a restaurant, and my poor son stood in the bathroom crying because he couldn’t figure out how to flush the toilet and he was too embarrassed to walk away without finishing the job. We had to send someone in to “rescue” him!

Everything is LOUD.

When we were overseas, I couldn’t understand the language being spoken around me. When you don’t understand the language, it’s really easy for the sounds of people talking to just become background noise–you tune it out. When we got home, it felt like I had some sort of superhuman ability to hear everything. All of a sudden, I could understand all the noise around me again, and it took some time for me to be able to block out that noise. It was overwhelming for the first couple weeks!

You’ll be homesick…for a country that isn’t home.

We’ve been back two years now, and I still ache for Germany. It hits me at the most unexpected times. Around Easter, I want to go back for Spargle season. In the summer, I can’t stop thinking about all the festivals. At Christmastime, I’d sell my soul for a Christmas market. I can’t stop thinking about it!

Moving Back to States PINTEREST PIN

Things go back to the way they were.

While living in Germany, I was determined to make sure we could travel (a lot!) and not rack up a huge amount of debt. In order to balance the budget, we didn’t have television service, or smart phones. The TV was almost never on, and I learned to function with an small, emergency-only cell phone. No one could reach me, and I was never distracted from the moment. It was magical. We also shopped at farmers markets instead of the grocery store, and almost never ate out.

When we came home, I was determined to stay unplugged, and stay healthy. Lets just say the iPhone and Panda Express won in the end. I’m still a little disappointed in myself.

Everything changes.

I struggled a bit with how much everything changed at home. We have a large family, and I wasn’t able to afford a trip back to my hometown for all of us, so after four years, I finally flew to San Diego to see my family. When I arrived, my favorite ice cream shop from my childhood was closed. The house was older. The people were older. I was different, too. Things didn’t fit together the way they once did. I no longer felt like I belonged there, and I didn’t belong in Germany. Everything was different.

Living overseas is magical and exhilarating, filled with places to explore, and memories to make. Coming back home is a little different, as you can see.

Have you ever had a hard time adjusting back to living in the United States after OCONUS orders?

HeatherPosted by Heather Aliano, Social Media Manager

71 Comments

Add yours
  1. 1
    Kimberly Mumford

    I felt the same way when we moved back from Yokosuka, Japan in Sept. 2014 after living there for 3 years. It’s year and a half after coming back to the states and I miss Japan especially now with Cherry Blossom tree blooming. I loved living in Japan, traveling around the country and cherish the memories that I made with my Japanese friends and it was a wonderful cultural experience.

  2. 2
    Jenn

    This is spot on. We recently returned to the U.S. after being overseas for over 11 years. Readjustment to life in America has been difficult to say the least.

  3. 3
    Jennifer

    Ahh! We were in Korea for 2 years went back to the states for 40 days of leave before coming to Germany we couldn’t wait to leave the US. Now we have been here a year and getting out of the military due to unfortunate circumstances and I have cried the last two days knowing it’s real and this fairytale of life has to come to an end. I haven’t felt this “at home” in such a long long time. I’m devasted to be leaving. My daughter is not yet 5, is devastated as well. Crying and telling me she doesn’t want to leave Germany. She loves her German kinder, she loves living in Germany. So that makes it even more heart breaking! I don’t know how I’m going to be so happy again. It’s truly magical here.

  4. 4
    Stacy White

    Three years in Bamberg and I would love to go back some day. We were there ’91-94, and I agree, it was magical. Thankfully I can still get the coffee over here! I miss the EduSho bakeries, the quiet, walking almost everywhere, weekend trips to Nuremberg for groceries at the commissary, biergartens, castles and churches and rose gardens. Thrift day on the sidewalks. Amazing.

  5. 7
    Didi McCorkle

    This is exactly what my husband and I feels. We always yearn for Germany. I feel more at home back there. I miss the quiet Sundays when you don’t hear your neighbors mowing their lawn, I miss how we can travel so reasonably and it seems like you have seen the whole world! I miss how they segregate their trash and alot more. We have been truly blessed to experience those things that we miss them. Thank you for the article!

  6. 9
    Jami Jensen

    YES!!!! You spoke so many words I would never be able to articulate. We were in Germany for 3 years and have been back for 9 months and my heart still aches for Europe every single day. It’s definitely a feeling only a select few will ever understand.

    • 12
      Carole loberg

      I was an army. Brat raised in Germany. One of the first military families allowed after WWII. After 8 years with a year stateside, I still miss Germany after all these years in the USA.

  7. 13
    Roy Clay Hammond

    I wrote a blog a while back over Wiesbaden, and had an Army guy from the 1990s respond….he is kinda still reminiscing over the six years he spent in the area. I guess the experience doesn’t go away. As he said…..it was a metropolitan area that was small enough to make you think it was your hometown.

  8. 14
    Alex Johnson

    Ahh, this just solidifies my husbands and my dream to work towards getting a 3 year contract in Weisbaden! I work for DoD so I just have to wait for a position to become available that I qualify for and apply!! Did you live on post? The only concern I have is that we have more than 2 pets (2 dogs, 3 cats lol) and I believe I read that you can only have 2 on post…

    • 15
      Jan

      You won’t be living on post as a DOD civilian. But you’ll still have a hard time finding a landlord to accept that many pets. I had 2 dogs & it was hell. Sorry for the bad news, but keep trying for the job. A possibility is for one of you to come & house hunt as soon as you get orders, & the other to wait with a plan on rehoming your babies if you can’t find housing.

      • 16
        Sarah O

        We are moving back this summer to Wiesbaden and have 2 Dachshunds… hoping that heritage is endearing enough for the housing websites that state the pets are considered upon interview (or words to that effect). We are long-time residents of several areas of Germany off-and-on over the past 40 years (yep, my first time I don’t remember since I was less than a year when my Dad worked for Deutschevelle… and prior to that, he was at AFN in the late 50s!)

  9. 17
    Petra

    Hi,
    So true. We have been back to the States and came back to Germany again. We are still here for now. It is hard to adjust once you grow custom to the European lifestyle.
    I know one day we will leave here as well and I am dreading the day.
    So, for now we will enjoy while it lasts.

  10. 18
    Jen

    If any military spouses with children with autism are interested, there is a study at Penn State setting up 1:1 mentorship relationships to help with PCSing with a child with autism. If interested, email the PhD student running the study at jod5183@psu.edu for details.

  11. 19
    John Nolan

    Yep, everyday my Wife and I talk about coming back to our extended family in Germany. We Skype and talk and get the occasional visitor from abroad. FB keeps us in touch as well, but we both long to go back to the culture we love so much! Keller Bier season is on us, as is the coming fest season. It would be so nice to see the almond blooms this spring.

  12. 20
    Heather Lane

    I just had a discussion with my 17 yo yesterday explaining how we could only shop for a few days at a time, because on the economy the fridges were 1/2 the size Americans think is normal. I explained that there was usually a meat shop & bread shop in the neighborhood and you stopped on your way home to get your bread & meat for the evening meal. Not the month at a time I shop for now, that she is used to. It’s been 26 years since I left….I think about the experience weekly at least, still. Was the best experience of my life, at 13 I went crying and kicking latterly over and came back the same way because I didn’t want to leave.

  13. 21
    Denise smith

    Your experience is much the same as I experienced 35 years ago. We forget to make plans to do something special when we return stateside. Each place we live leaves memories good and for some unhappy. It is a part of our lives embrace each place and time and incorporate the experience into your life.

  14. 22
    Collis

    Retiring from the USAF after 23.5 years. Spent 14 of them overseas (4 in Japan and 10 in Germany). Miss being overseas a lot. It truly is a different and wonderful experience that those that haven’t been can’t understand. Kills me to hear those that haven’t been are afraid to go because it’s too dangerous over there……umm…It’s more dangerous here on a daily basis……..

  15. 23
    Karin P

    If so many of you feel this way then what chance will a German/British girl have of settling state side? I am German, yet worked, lived and raised two daughters in Britain. I have that European attitude to most things and my 2 years in the States, though enjoyable were like a holiday. I have no idea how I will survive without markets and bakery cafés. 😉

  16. 25
    Sherry Hays

    My brother cried because we left Frau Keller and he did not remember living in the states. Given my preference. i would live at least 6 months out of the year in Germany.

  17. 26
    Mr. Anderson

    A great little piece there to hopefully help those unfortunate to return to the U.S. I say unfortunate because I arrived here in 1987, and I have been here ever since. Some with the military, some as a civilian and then again in the Reserves. When people ask, I say “I am on an extended vacation, and I have no clue when it will end.” I will always be an American at heart, but there is something about the Rhein Main area, (Mainz, Wiesbaden, Frankfurt), that nothing in the states can compare with. Thanks for the story and good luck back there… I will have a Hefeweizen for you all…Danke und Tschuess…

  18. 27
    J. Rees

    I did 9 overseas tours, in the end we just stayed overseas. I live in the UK and only go back to the States a few weeks every other year. I may only stay for a few weeks but I always gain weight, get sick from all the junk in the food. The transition back to living in the States was impossible, too much has changed.

  19. 28
    duffelbagspouse

    It was hard for us too. It’s not abnormal, my closest friends are the ones I met while living overseas and we lament often about our experiences, the monotony of life in our homeland and the desire to once again return to Germany. So much so that I’ve been blogging at duffelbagspouse travels about the life of the traveling spouse. After three years back in the States we received orders to Korea and I am in heaven again. Military life is sweet overseas.

  20. 29
    Michael Amos

    We did four years at Geilenkirchen NATO Air Base from May 01-05. What a marvelous time. I made friends I’m still in touch with daily both abroad and stateside. The return to America was extremely difficult to say the least. I will always remember those great days.

  21. 30
    Kathy Kirby

    Thank you so much for writing this and re-affirming what our family is still experiencing. We’re 8 months in to our reacclimstion and I wonder if the aches in our hearts will ever truly go away.

  22. 31
    Kathleen

    No one warned me this would happen! I studied abroad in Prague when I was in college, and I miss it more everyday. I was only there for 4 months, and I’ve been home for 3 years but a piece of me is still there! I can imagine how much you long for Germany having spent considerably more time there. Easter definitely makes me miss their Easter markets all over the town square. I had totally forgotten about how loud everything was when I came back and could understand the people around me. I also had terrible time adjusting to strangers smiling at me and greeting me, a somewhat taboo practice in Czech Republic. Thanks for writing this, it did my wandering soul some good.

  23. 32
    Anna

    Absolutely right. We did 2 tours in Spain. After returning, everything was busier, noisier,disconnected feeling. Too many choices in stores, too many stores. We also broke down & bought iPhones, however, we’ve still managed to do without cable tv (streaming like we did in Europe). As much as I love being closer to family, I’d move back to Europe if given the opportunity! ?

  24. 33
    Diana skuodas

    Every comment left is so true, My husband and I have been lucky to have lived overseas most of our Marriage. The culture shock is always there on your return, How loud people are, the weekends here are not really weekends, the farmers market and the cherry blossoms will always be something to remember. My Husband still travels quite a bit and that’s something we are lucky to this day as we keep a balance between living in the US and still being able to experience outside of the US.

  25. 35
    Vicki Harris

    I’ve been back and forth between the US and Germany 3 times over the course of 30 years and every time I’m in the US I’m so depressed it isn’t even funny. I miss Germany and truly wish I could live here forever.

  26. 37
    BeautyMark

    I feel the same way and this brought a flood of memories rushing back to me….I miss the wholesomeness of it all. I am disappointed at life here and don’t know how to get myself back there. Its sad I know….thank you for the amazing blog.

  27. 38
    Patricia dichter

    We were civilians working for the Army in Hanau in the early 200’s. it’s been 10 years since our return and we still talk about returning to live overseas. As stated by others it is truly a magic place. We were so busy traveling to so many different countries and learning about their customs. If ever the opportunity rose for someone else, do not be afraid to jump on the chance and enrich your life, you won’t regret the decision.

  28. 39
    LaceyD

    We forget how cold it is in every restaurant and store. We look like the crazy people walking into restaurants with sweaters in the middle of summer. We are headed back over the pond very soon, and I can’t wait. My soul needs it.

  29. 40
    Randy Perry

    I am back in Germany again. Wiesbaden actually. I love it here! I am fairly disoriented with the state of our country in many ways…..All I can say is…. read 2 Chronicles 7:14 and really really cry out to God Almighty for our country. The battle starts here with you. Each person makes a difference. God really hears our prayers. The remnant at such a time as this will make the difference. Join me and cry out to the LORD and interceed as the prayer warrior that we are called to be. Every prayer counts. He hears every one of them. The buck starts here! Chaplain (MAJ) Randy Perry

  30. 41
    Annick De Souza

    We spent 13 yrs in Germany,Giessen,Baumhoder,Berlin, Mannheim,I miss those years everyday especially Our time in Berlin

  31. 42
    Megan

    Such a fitting article. We have been back in the states 9 months after spending 3 years in Germany and I feel sooo very unsettled. My New Year resolution was to find JOY in the mundane which is what living in Virginia feels like right now. I miss the constant newness and beauty, and surprises around every corner. I would go back in a heartbeat.

  32. 43
    Kelly

    We were in the UK for 8 beautiful years and have been back in the US for 7 and I am still waiting to feel like I am home. It is a deep seated feeling that I don’t belong here and I wonder if I will ever feel hone in the US. I have been back to the UK three times since moving and from the moment I land I feel such peace. I am home. I feel better, sleep better, breathe better, laugh more and just know I am where I should be. It was truly the hardest adjustment we have ever had to make and while we are all proud to be American, My husband, myself and out three British raised boys (ages 5, 3 and 9 mo when we arrived in England) agree that we feel a sense of loss not being in the UK anymore. NO AF PCS class our councilor prepared us for the chance spoke of here and I have heard the same thing repeated by mil and gov familys who have been stationed abroad. In a word, “magical” describes our time and experience in England.

  33. 44
    David goltz

    David Goltz I lived in gremany two different times. Three years each time. We moved back to the U.S. When I was 16 and everybody in my family missed living in Gremany. I went back after being going for 41 years and can’t wait to go back. I’m not waiting that long before going back again. Thanks for share your story.

  34. 46
    Ashton René

    Well I have never lived in Germany. However, my dad got stationed in Okinawa, Japan and my family lived there for 7 years. Its where I went to elementary, middle, and high school. I have been in the states for 5 years now and still think about Japan every single day. Everything is so different here and my dream is still to take my Fiance and maybe our kids one day too raise them. Thank you for the post it was great reading about other experiences that have the same emotional stamp. ???

  35. 47
    renate bartlett

    well all the article i read is true we are all europeans by birth and our ancastry are in us i am a german by birth and was raised and my teens spent in germany ,married a gi and came to the states lived here in usa for 30 years could not overcome the homesickness went back to germany another 20 years came back with a new husband, because of my 5 children 7 grandchildren 4 gradgrandchildren been here now 6 years again and i do not feel like home or belong, like to go back,so i am a miss placed person that what europe does to you

  36. 48
    Gregory Moore (SFC, Ret. U.S. Army)

    I still sweep my half of the street and get very upset with my neighbours who let their garbage and cigarettes dirty my neighbourhood. I yearn for a real Farmer’s Market, a Metzgerei, a Backerei and the liszt goes on.

  37. 49
    krisrachelbucher

    Thank you so much for this. I am planning to move back to the states after 2 1/2 years in the Balkans. I have grown to love this place, with it’s people, sounds and smells, etc! I heard from another person recently how loud it can be, returning to an all English country! And I like what you said “You’ll be homesick…for a country that isn’t home.” Wow. What a heavy statement. I know it’s going to be true. But I wouldn’t trade this time and experience for my life.

  38. 50
    Rhonda Bird

    We were stationed at Ramstein AFB, Germany from Nov 2007 – Nov 2011. We were at a perfect location as we were not to far from neighboring countries…France, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Switzerland. We were also not to far away from England which is where my family lived, so it was nice to be able to visit them.
    My husband worked on Ramstein AFB. So at first I felt isolated in our German home that we were renting.
    At first it felt strange living amongst the German community as we didn’t speak much German, we knew enough so we didn’t go hungry! It turned out there were about 6 American families living in our small farming village called Lambsborn. I miss the morning walks with the kids to the bus stop, and I would stop at the local bakery on the way back home.
    We built friendships with our German neighbors, one elderly lady greeted me one morning offering me a small pot of jam, and asked me if “I like’. I said with a smile yes ‘Danke’.
    I remember our first Thanksgiving there, we were waiting for our household goods to be delivered, an American neighbor invited us to their home for Thankgiving. Friendship amongst the 6 American families that lived there is so different to when we lived in the U.S.
    We hardly know our neighbor (where we live now) they are Army we just found out they are moving overseas in July!
    We have quite a few active/retire military that live on our sub division now.
    We loved how clean everywhere was in Germany, the scenery, the wildlife. We loved the farmers markets everything tasted so good. It was nice to be able to travel and visit various countries & different cultures & traditions like the Pumpkin, garlic & wine festivals. Every Sunday we always noticed the German’s love to walk & enjoyed time with their families. The Christmas markets were awesome. The restraunts in Germany are awesome, food always tasted so good and the hospitality was fantastic, you were never rushed to leave your table.
    We have been back in the U.S almost 5 years, we very often think back to our time in Germany the beauty of the forest surrounding us. It taught us a lot about how much we take for granted in the U.S.
    We decided that when move back to the U.S. we were going to live in a smaller house. If we had the chance to go back to Germany…… we would. We loved the culture, and the simple life. People helped each other out.

  39. 51
    Gregory Kirk

    I was a military Brat and it was hard to readjust every time dad would get new orders. I wasn’t born in England but I was only about a week old when Dad went there. When I was four we moved to Edwards AFB and my grandmother from Arkansas kept asking when his son was going to talk right. Since I learned to speak in England I had a perfect English accent….needless to say it is just a redneck one now. 15 schools for 12 years of schooling was hard but we brats were able to persevere. When I was 17 I entered the Military myself, and I will say I have been In lots of countries other than the US and while I love the US and am a proud American I take a little piece of all the cultures I was either raised with or lived with me everywhere I go. I can talk conversationally in several languages and I understand other peoples customs and perspectives clearer than many of my peers.

  40. 52
    Sheryl

    I totally understood every word you express. I lived in Gernany for fifteen years. I have been back eight months now. My second child was born there. And for months my heart cry because my son had to experience Fresh man year here he would come home saying why mom he didn’t like going to school here. I am so grateful that we had the experience we had living in Germany. If I had the opportunity to go back I would drop everything and be on the first flight back.

  41. 53
    Keith Houin

    In April I move back to Louisiana. I left there 30 years ago in April. Though we have lived in the states (never Louisiana) a few times since, my two young boys have no real memories of the states. We have been overseas this tour for 10 years. The 12 year old was two when we left. The 10 year old was six months when we left. For the last five years we have been in Belgium and it feels more like home than anywhere I have been in thirty years, though Louisiana has has never left my system. I am prepared for the change and a little bit scared. My kids grew up in an International NATO community Challenges ahead, but all will be well.

  42. 54
    Dawn Jenkins

    We also left Wiesbaden two years ago, and my husband and I also yearn for our favorite city in the world. We agree with the last post: it was full of cultural events and beautiful architecture, but small enough to make you think it was your hometown. We lived there for four magical years. We took up biking in the farmers’ fields and on the Rhein river. We traveled to many countries. We found Europe’s longest sled run in Austria. And we would give anything to go back every Christmas for the markets.

  43. 55
    Jamelle

    It was magically the opposite for me. I enjoyed my time in Wiesbaden, but another day there would have been torture. Everywhere I went thirsty German women would ogle my husband even with me there on his arm. Older Germans seemed to be offended by our very presence. It was not a fond 2 years for us.

  44. 56
    Rita Bergstrom

    Were you “in my head” as you wrote this? I can sooo relate to everything you said. I was a DoDDS teacher in Turkey (Incirlik), then Germany (Geilenkirchen) and finally in Netherlands (AFNorth). I thought it was time to “retire” at age 72, but I was so wrong. I miss the European life style, the travel opportunities, the culture, the friends…I could go on and on. Moving back to the States to an area where I grew up, but haven’t lived here since high school was a severe shock. It was like hitting a brick wall….I had given up my “dream life”. There is a happy ending. After almost 2 years, I have made new friends, joined a wonderful church and other organizations. I still miss my German lifestyle, but I’m trying to adjust.

  45. 57
    George Ewing

    I don’t suppose you ever heard the expression “you can’t go back”? It came about for a reason, not because you go to Germany. You go to another state and it’s the same story. Home is never the way we remember it.

  46. 58
    Kert Ellis

    I thought it was just me. I been back in states for almost 4 years and still homesick for Germany. I miss those long summer evenings in Kaisrslutern, Mannheim,Stuttgart or Heidelberg having a couple of cold ones watching the Sun fall below the horizon. The hanging out along the river in Worms or Bingen. And during the holiday season for the last 3 years I been just sick. Missing the holiday festivals of Europe. As soon as I am able to I will tighten up my personal affairs here in the states and moving back to Europe. I hate living in the United States .Once I get back I never coming back here. In tears on I95
    Kert

  47. 59
    Diane Skiff

    I lived in Stuttgart for three years with only coming back to the States once halfway through. It was a serious adjustment returning as everything in the U.S. was bigger and there was so much waste. There weren’t recycling cans yet in malls, and airports, and I thought how irresponsible of us not to make that a priority. The houses, cars, bathrooms, everything was bigger and seemed wasteful too. I felt my carbon footprint and felt like I needed to do my part, as the Europeans have, to make it a small one.
    I missed the interactions between other cultures, the festivals, how the community always came together whether for a Farmer’s Market or a football game. How we were able to join in and understand their daily lives better, it made us more compassionate. I don’t think that you realize how narrow-minded you are until you are taken out of what your normal is.
    Technology! When we lived there we didn’t have iPhones or iPads. When we came back and had to sign an iPad for a receipt at the ice cream store I was taken back. In Germany, there were places that didn’t take credit cards. We rely so much on technology…more so than the places we visited. They are more interactive and in the here and now….it’s refreshing.
    Thanks for writing this, it brought back wonderful memories and a bit of a tear remembering how much we learned about our world.

  48. 60
    Nancy Nolin

    I lived in Germany as well. I left in 2011 and I still miss my German friends, the ability to travel and see so many different countries and to enjoy the exposure to various cultures, foods, lifestyles and festivals. To this date I do not like eating in American restuarants. The noise is so loud – why there always needs to be music blasting in American restuarants or TV’s showing ongoing sports. I miss the beauty and celebration of a meal with friends in a quaint little restaurant on a cobblestone street. I identify completely with this writer and understand everything she said. Maybe one day I will go back to live in Bavaria again.

  49. 62
    Sally

    We’ve been stated side nearly 5 years and I STILL get that “homesick” feeling for our little community of Baumholder. The close-knit community, castles dotting the roadside, food, no small talk, the weather, and just….everything. Coming back to the states was so overwhelming, I was surprised at how not at home I get in my hometown. I saw our political system and society in a whole new light and absolutely didn’t like what I saw. I’d give almost anything to live there.

  50. 63
    Jan

    I was an AF Fledging, Army wife, then worked for the Army for 29 years. Most of it overseas. 3 years in Okinawa, 10 years in Germany, 19 years in Italy. I couldn’t make it in the States any more. So I retired to Italy. It’s not easy, but it’s where I belong. Especially in today’s politics. The Renaissance here hasn’t stopped…there are still rational people, the food is healthy, they care about the environment (a bit more in Germany, but the Italians are trying…), health care is cheaper even though I use my Stateside insurance. I miss my kids & grandkids, but they’re coming to visit. And since the kids grew up here too, they also want to come “home.” Sally, is that you? My Baumholder buddy?

    • 64
      Sarah O

      Jan, how do I reach out to a contemporary with similar background and you retired in Europe?! If our moderator would be so kind (because I don’t want to flash my email address here), please “connect” us.

  51. 65
    Sarah O

    My husband and I have been in the U.S. for the past 6 years…after returning from a combined 5, and 5, and random number of years… being in Germany (combination of Bad Godesburg, Frankfurt, Ramstein and Heidelberg)… we have returned every year since we left in 2010, and this summer, close to my retirement, one last opportunity to work and live in… Wiesbaden. Why on Earth have I been so quick to discard my 220v appliances every time I’ve left Europe, but am content to keep my 110v’s in storage for 3-5 years??? Keep that 220v stuff… life will surprise you!! That being said, I still my 220v small enough for hotel travel coffee pot (which I’ve had since living in Turkey in the 80s) and an iron and hair blow-dryer.

  52. 66
    Gaijin DoDEA Japanese Teacher

    After 25 years overseas (as a DoDDS teacher) first in Italy for 3 yrs and then 20 yrs in 3 places in Japan I too really miss it and still plan to travel when I can. But, I was ready to root in the US and see my family and stateside friends more (including so many overseas friends who are now back home too). Japan was such a great place to live and work but the US is still my home and #1 in the end. Renovating and living out in the country in my great grandparents’ old home in the country really brings me back to good old American roots and I can always visit the rest of the world. I’m lucky that I still teach those awesome and diverse military kids all over the world albeit online now, but since I teach Japanese it sure would be nice to be in Japan and also here at the same time! I went back and spent 3 months studying and working last year and that helped so I guess I’ll just have to do it again! I will say I’m grateful I spent the main chunk of those years in Japan instead of Europe for more reasons than I could print here. And…I’m glad I am still connected to the military world because I’m so proud of our troops from every branch and I’m happy to be part of their microcosm of American life. I love, love, love the fantastic variety of their kids! The one thing I do NOT miss are the LONG flights back and forth! I’ve done way too many of those in 25 years…

  53. 68
    amarakus

    Retired AF O-5 After I retired, I lived and worked in the UK in 2005-2006 and 2009. Just took the grandkids for a visit in November. I loved the experience overseas, but my roots and kids were in the US so I was OK with going back to the states. On the other hand it was very cool to know all about how to get around London on the tube with the grandkids and they had a fabulous time. I am so glad I had the opportunity to live an work outside the country. It made me appreciate the USA more than I expected.

  54. 70
    Ines Green

    I get homesick all the time. I don’t even know what home is. I was born and raised in Brussels, Belgium, lived in Costa Rica, Hawaii and now Missouri. I feel good in Missouri, but I miss each of the places that I’ve lived, depending on the weather, music, food, movies, etc. anything can just randomly make me cry!

  55. 71
    Elvia Rodriguez

    HALLELUJAH!!! I thought I was crazy…I’m so glad to know that it’s not just me. I can relate to some of these reasons but my experience in Italy and living on the installation made adjustment much harder in other ways. Thank you for this…I’M NOT CRAZY!!!

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