Having recently devoured Sarah Turnbull's Almost French in a mere three days; this book was an utmost pleasureable experience - I laughed aloud to the point of crying uncontrollably on the bus back from NYC this weekend - she brings to life so many universal experiences of an expat in a country where the language spoken is not your native tongue. She spins stories of going mute rather than doing a disservice to whatever topic it is that you just cant defend in a foreign language, slapping you in the face with the reality that your personality changes when you live in a foreign country; at home you can be funny, outgoing, and incessantly sociable but plucked up and spat back out in un pays etranger: you are now quiet, SHY even, and well lets face it - boring. This is hard to face and even harder to overcome. Living abroad is a constant effort - being truly open to understanding that things just are because its different - is an effort. In one sense, everything is "normal" - it has its place in its own culture, history, and location. It can be explained, whether or not you agree - and more often than not - its works.
I also found myself shaking my head violently in agreement to the notion that once you leave home; something is always missing and it will be forever bittersweet. You always miss somewhere, someone, something even - and you become the mathematical formula of many things added to many other things, sometimes divided by a factor - or multiplied by another factor (even subtracting a few qualities, likes... to create, to equate to - a new you, a different you. Its then up to you how these mesh together.
Every experience changes us - sometimes we want to retreat back to the former, but when we visit it - we realize it no longer looks the same: as we now no longer are the same. I've always loved the saying that you dont step in the same river twice. Life changes you - if you let it is what most people say - rather I think life changes you - if you have the courage to admit that it does.