when your heart is in two (or more!) places

It’s been almost exactly five years since we arrived in Norway. In a way, it seems like yesterday. And yet, it also seems like forever ago. 

Our first full day in Norway February 2, 2013

When we arrived, our boys were 10 and 8 years old. It was -18C. Colder than anything I’d ever experienced in my life. We arrived with suitcases filled to capacity, yet without a home. Only a temporary apartment in the capital city, and the name of the city where we needed to find an apartment.

A few weeks later, we had moved and settled into our new home in Sandefjord. And thus began life as we now know it.

Now we stand at the five year mark, and thanks to a tax/retirement-related agreement between Norway and the U.S., we have to say goodbye to this home for the next 6 months (something we must do every five years).

So we are in transition mode. Cleaning and packing, arranging for people to take care of things here, setting up housing, cars, schooling, etc. for our time in the states. It’s a strange season for us. We feel such a range of emotions. Sad to say ‘see you soon’ to so many friends here in Norway. Way more than I feel like we should have at this point. And yet, really happy about time with friends and family in the states.

I found a quote the other day that captures the feelings quite well.

You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere.
That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.
~Miriam Adeney

Just this week a friend asked me if we felt totally at home here, or in America. And my answer was neither. Living abroad does something to you. It’s such an amazing experience, one that leaves you with this sense of never totally being at home. No matter where we are, we notice things that are different, things that show us we don’t totally fit. And no matter where we are, we always find ourselves feeling a bit homesick. So for us, the idea of home really has shifted from a location to a feeling.

And that’s okay. As long as we are together, we are home.

So here we go – our last seven days, filled with lots of goodbyes, and more packing than I really want to think about. And next weekend, we’ll be saying see ya this summer to Scandinavia, and hello Georgia!

February 2013

January 2018

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One thought on “when your heart is in two (or more!) places

  1. Oh how I feel what you wrote here as we are in process of returning to England in three days (having been in the U.S. six months)! Thank you for your comforting words which help us to know we are not alone.
    As long as we are together we really are home!