I rarely go home to the UK, partly because I now have a family, partly because of the cost of paying for flights and hire cars and partly because I don't really want to go home. When I go home I feel like a visitor, like an alien. This is not a new feeling for me since my wife is not English, so when I go to her country I feel like a visitor plus I don't speak her Francophone language. Female language is hard enough for us men to understand but combine that with a language of another country and you have a tough time getting by. I still don't speak Russian and have no immediate plans to learn it. I don't know the exact date but have been married for about a two hundred years and still don't speak my wife's native language, so I can't see much hope in me learning Russian as well. In short, I hate languages. I could teach myself these missing languages but I think I would get bored after a while, I would rather watch grass grow than study language. I am my own linguistic enemy, trapped in a world of simple or non communication. Sorry, I digress.
I expect, I am not alone in this feeling of being an alien. Some expats who have set up home permanently abroad, probably feel very strange when they go back to their birth countries. Everything has changed, their villages, towns and communities. Life moves on, painfully slowly but does change, people change. On returning home, you find you have nothing in common with the people you once knew. Their lives seem dull yet you feel strangely jealous of their habitual stability and compfort zone softness.
When I go back to England, I don't recognise it. The roads seem so clean, new and efficient, there are so many shops and so much choice on offer. It's great to recognise and buy familiar product brands that you grew up with, to take a trip down memory lane. Back home you buy things you don't really need so you can take them back with you just in case they are useful, although you will never use them. When, I return, I don't know the TV programmes that everyone is watching and I don't know the names of famous Brits that I read about in the paper online. I hate and love going back. I don't like the vast crowds of people and the uncomfortable melting pot of races it scares me, sorry I am not a modern man. Interpret that how you like however, I don't subscribe to racism. I don't like the rudeness of people. I do like the choice of foods and to eat home cooked food from my mother and to visit the seaside.
The main beauty of going back home is that I can understand what people are saying. I feel like an alien who has just landed on earth with special earth language headphones on. It's brilliant. I feel a master of English and British. I speak about everything and anything to total strangers and take simple joy in understanding what they are saying to me. I recognise accents and expressions that I used to not notice when I lived back in England.
My kid is half English, so I hope to take him to see his roots one day soon. When I come back to Russia I feel like a foreigner. When I go to England I feel like a foreigner, I don't recognise the country I grew up in. I am scared and happy to go there but also very relived to leave. I certainly don't pine for England and I don't plan to live there again but I am still a alien where ever I am. Perhaps roots need to be put down before the tree perishes and dies but where and when, that is the million dollar question? See Basil Fawlty syndrome.
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