When we lived in China, any tiny complaint we made to friends back in the US brought a "just move home! We miss you!" type comment.
I get that they were trying to say they loved us, but after a while it got annoying. I must admit, I gave a little rant on my facebook wall after that straw finally broke my camel's back. "We sold everything. We gave up our lease. We are here. This is home now. When you have a complaint about your home or job, do YOU just move? No! Please accept that this is our home now."
When we moved to Vietnam from Beijing, for fully TWO YEARS friends and former colleagues in China occasionally messaged us, "When are you coming home to Beijing?" They truly couldn't imagine anyone wanting to live anywhere else.
No. Just no.
China has changed a lot since we lived there and... no.
Now, here in Vietnam, Brett and I have lived in this ONE house for longer than we have ever shared a domicile in our married existence. We are opening a business in a few weeks. We believe we are settled.
(I say, "we believe" because as non-Vietnamese we are able to live here by the grace of the Vietnamese government, and politics can change. If it's up to us, this is home for life.)
I know people who have "committed" to living the expat life outside their native country, but still keep a house back "home". A safety net? My own brother rented their house in the States for the seven years they lived in Turkey, and when they returned "home" it was there for them to move back in.
When I was a kid and my family moved to Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka was home. I was young, my brain and heart were malleable: Home became Sri Lanka. After the tsunami in 2004 that wrecked so many places between Indonesia and the eastern shore of the Indian subcontinent, I was heartbroken. I felt like it was my own home that was decimated. I talked to my mom and quickly realized that, to her, Sri Lanka was never home. It was a place to live for the time, but home to her had been Iowa, USA.
Home is different to each of us. Here, when a local asks, "Where are you from?" the temptation is to name the district of the city that we live in. After all, we've lived here almost four years! But I know they are asking about the country of my passport.
We went to Hanoi, and returned home to Hoi An. When we have gone back to the States... after the trip we returned home to Vietnam.
What is "returning home" for you? Going to the town you grew up in? Visiting parents? How do you define "home"?