A Letter to Our American Friends and Family

Dear Family and Friends,

After three years and eight months, we are moving back to you. Our move is full of emotion and anticipation. We are excited to see you and, to once again, create our home in B’town.

But, I need you to understand that this is going to be a very difficult time for us. We are leaving our family and friends in Germany and are having to say good-bye to our home, knowing we will not return. We will be sad. This is not a reflection of you, we love you, but we are mourning the loss of what we left in Germany. We hope that we can count on you to support us as we repatriate into our American life.

We will need you to listen to us, even if you don’t want to hear how great life was in Regensburg, we will need to talk. Please, ask us about our experiences, what we liked, what we did, what our life was like. Ask us about our friends and our travels. Listen when we talk to you about our former life, it is what defined us for 44 months and has molded us into who we now are.

Life in Germany is the only childhood the tartlets remember and the kiddos probably won’t remember you, please do not be offended. They were 3 and 6 when we moved and have lived quite a life since they’ve been gone. We will all need to get to know you again, family and friends, and you will need to reacquaint yourselves with us as well.

Yes, we are moving back to the same house in the same city, but we aren’t the same and neither are you. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s change – and change happens whether you want it to or not. All five of us are older and wiser. Our families’ views have been broadened. We see life, our country, the world through new eyes.

Please remember, we are starting over. The school system will be brand new to us, we’ve been in German schools this entire time. We will not understand the way things work, so please check up on us, ask the kiddos how they are doing, if they have questions. Invite us to meet other families in the area. We will feel like outsiders.

Shopping and the laundry list of things to do will be overwhelming. If you call and we don’t call back, don’t give up on us. Keep pestering. Stop by – but not just in the beginning… this process will take a long time. We will need to know you care, please don’t assume we already know. If you say “let me know if we can help” – we will be taking you up on your offer.

We will be stressed out with the move, life and the future. Sometimes, we may need space – other times not. Please do not put demands on us, we will try to visit with everyone in due time. We have a lot to sort through and must organize our new life. We love you and know that you are happy we are back. We cannot wait to see you, but know that we probably won’t be doing a lot of travel in the beginning.

Just so you know, we only have 3 weeks from the time the girls end school in Germany until they begin in the States. We will have a total of seven days in our town between the move-holiday-school… our furniture and life will not arrive until the end of August, after school has begun. Can you imagine the whirlwind we will be experiencing?

We are excited to move back and enjoy all that the United States has to offer. We look forward to reconnecting and getting to know you all again. Our repatriation will be a roller coaster of emotions and we hope you are all there to help us enjoy the ride.


The Soon-to-be Ex-expat

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5 Responses to A Letter to Our American Friends and Family

  1. Amy H says:

    Wow, Ann. Well put. It is hard to wrap your head around and explain to others and I think this is a great beginning! The support that doesn’t give up is a must in reestablishing all of your relationships. Be prepared that those who are that supportive are fantastic friends/family who you know you will always be able to count on…they may not be the ones you think…and that some will just not get it. Be patient with yourself and don’t be afraid to morn the life you’ve left, I’ve found that is completely normal. Being in between “settled” is a tough time, it will settle, and all for the better. Hugs to all of you on this new life. It seems so strange to call it a new life since it’s the one you left, but it really is because you are so so different than what you were before you left. Everyone is different. xx

  2. Carla says:

    This made me cry. It’s an emotional journey you are starting on (again) and I really feel it and feel for you. I have done it a few times now and each time is a wrench. And each time I expect people to understand but they simply don’t – especially when you want to remember your time in Regensburg and all the great and character-forming things you did there. People just think you would rather be there and feel offended and defensive. Even just now, being at my Mums and knowing I am going to be here for 6 weeks is quite emotional for me. I was from here but am no longer from here. it is the town in which I was born but no longer my hometown. It leads to friction (but part of that is living in a small house with my Mum and her partner and 3 dogs and Max – and I have only been here for 4 days – help!!)

  3. Holly says:

    I never thought that “home” would be something completely different for your kids. Please think of us as someone that will help your transition back to the stats, if you want it!

  4. Stephanie Hempton says:

    Wow I couldn’t have said it better, you just summed up how I feel. I loved Utah and it broke my heart to leave my family and friends. I miss the kidos sooooo much. I love Chicago so far though, its so nice that our family from Michigan is only 5 hours away. I feel a little lonely at times so I am looking forward to meeting your family. I volunteered at the kids school in Utah and I loved it. So I’m hoping to get closer to Toni’s kids and yours. I kind of know how your feeling and it will be a huge change for your family. The kids are young and will probably adjust better, I think its harder as you get older. I’m blessed that I was there for the kids during the years when they really needed Aunt Steph and I loved every minute of it. I have wonderful memories with them. We’re looking forward to your arrival. and let me know what I can do to help. oxoxox Steph

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