Lonely in Ireland, since it was not home,
Strangeness made sense. The salt rebuff of speech,
Insisting so on difference, made me welcome:
Once that was recognised, we were in touch.

Their draughty streets, end-on to hills, the faint
Archaic smell of dockland, like a stable,
The herring-hawker’s cry, dwindling, went
To prove me separate, not unworkable.

Living in England has no such excuse:
These are my customs and establishments
It would be much more serious to refuse.
Here no elsewhere underwrites my existence.

Philip Larkin

I think every expatriate feels this way at one point or another. It’s a counterweight to the homesickness and culture shock generated by the clash between where we’re from and where we are now. A new country is a chance to reinvent ourselves, and an excuse for not fitting in.

It can make it hard to go home again.

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