Dealing with Change back Home while You’re Abroad

Not to sound cliché or anything, but if there’s one thing for certain it’s that everything changes. It’s easy to see how you are changing as a result of your travels (I wrote an entire post on it) but what you might not realize is that everything back home will continue to change without you.

I don’t mean that in a self absorbed way, I don’t think any of us expect for things to come to a standstill because we’re not there, but every once and a while, something big happens that makes you realize just how different things might be when you return and it can be difficult to process.

I’ve had a handful of these moments since moving abroad and I thought I would share one of them. Whether you’re studying abroad for a semester or relocating permanently for work, you can probably relate and maybe this will be helpful somehow, or maybe it won’t. Either way it will be good therapy for myself, so lets just jump on into it.

Mom and I right before I left. We visited Multnomah Falls which practically went up in flames this last week. So sad.

So if you are anything like me, then your parents are a big part of your life. I am really close with both my mom and dad and I talk with one or the other of them almost every day. I moved out after graduating high school and apart from saving on rent a couple of summers since then, I haven’t lived under their roof since. Since I moved out they have moved twice; once to a house on the west side that I only ever saw once on a surprise Mother’s Day visit and the other time (back) to Eastern Washington.

I lived there for two summers and visited on some long weekends but it really only ever was my parents house, not mine. So when I got the news last month that my father had been promoted and that they would be moving yet again, I was a little surprised that I was so upset.

The last month has been an emotional roller coaster to say the least. On one hand, I am so happy for my father. He really deserves this promotion and has been feeling so worthless lately. I think this move and new job will give him a new sense of purpose and pride that he hasn’t felt for a very long time.

But on the other hand, this move is very hard for my mother. She may not have loved her old job, but she made a lot of friends. While leaving that old house friends will be hard, it’s the location of this move which is the real kicker. Where they are moving to is so remote that there really isn’t much chance for her to work. They have no internet or cell phone service so getting to talk to me will be a struggle and basically she is going to be stuck home, alone, in the middle of nowhere, indefinitely.

Lone Tree by the Columbia
A favorite photos from my parents old house looking out at my horses pasture.

It’s very tricky being both happy for my father and sad for my mother, but also in the mix are my own emotions. I really loved their old house; loved how close it was to the beautiful Columbia river and wildlife reserve. The Tri Cities were very good to me and overall I have so many nice memories in that house and part of Washington.

I think the hardest part of this move for me is the fact that when I left, I always envisioned myself coming back to that house. I was looking forward to playing fetch with the dog on that lawn, fly spraying my horse in the sand, and cooling my feet off in the chilly river during the hundred degree heat. When I do finally get a chance to visit again, I will once again need directions to my parents house. While that’s not exactly a unique experience, it’s also one that many people never experience.

What made me feel better was thinking of all the things I would miss about that house and how they actually revolved around my parents and animals (which I will of course see again). The other thing that made me feel better was hopping on Instagram and looking at all of the stunning photos people have taken of the mountains, lakes and forests in the area they now live.

At the end of the day, I have my memories and I can look forward to all the new ones to be made in their new house. Life is all about rolling with the punches which they and I seem to be pretty good at. The adventurer in me is so excited to be able to see a new part of the state I call home but of course, what will be most important when I return is seeing my family again. After 2 years apart, I’m sure it really won’t matter what house they live in, I’ll just be happy to see them.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Linda Luxem says:

    You are a pro at writing Heather, something that runs in our family . My stomach has been in knots every since I learned where Karen is moving to. I hope Direct TV satalite can solve the Internet problem. I think Mt. Vernon is the closest larger town. Moving is hard no matter what, but the women in our family are very strong . I feel there is a reason for this move…will have to wait and see what it is. Any idea when you may be back for a Visit? OK, goodnight my beautiful Feather. I love you ! Grammy


    1. Glad you found my blog Grammy. I have no clue when I’ll be back yet. I’ll keep you posted when I know more. Miss you. 😘


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