My New State (of mind), Part 2


Photo credit: Briget Moore Murphy


Eleven months ago I began the journey of repatriation and I’m here to tell you that I’ve taken a beating. When I started this blog in 2012, I tried to uncover everything I could about how to get an overseas teaching job. What I never researched, and never even thought about, were the effects of reverse culture shock – if and when I’d ever return to the USA.

During my first months in Istanbul, Turkey, when culture shock was overwhelming at times, I reached out to administrators, colleagues and friends who were experiencing the same thing. Most of us had moved there from different countries and were not native to Turkey. We supported each other and worked through all the emotional changes we were experiencing. What I never prepared myself for was the hardship of coming back to your home country, alone, with no one who understood or could give emotional support.

After returning to the USA and living out of WalMart gray containers in the homes of friends and family for nine months, I felt like a tumbling tumbleweed. Even so, I don’t know how to ever repay the generosity of these people who lovingly opened their homes to me while I tried to sort out my life and make new decisions. After the wedding of my only daughter in early January, I drove back to my home state of Texas, crying all the way across California, Arizona and New Mexico. I felt like I’d lost all my identities: being a mother, being a teacher, being an artist and being a traveler.

I’ve now been in Texas for eight months. My brother and his wife graciously offered me a job in their company and I rented a small apartment. I count my blessings every day as I get to be alone with my thoughts and my things. My thoughts have been tangled this year, but two weeks ago I finished a 6-week course by Dr. Cate Brubaker called The Re-Entry Relaunch Roadmap. I would highly recommend this course to anyone struggling with repatriation. It helped me process all the changes I’ve been through and it gave me a community of people who understand me. One key exercise was to reframe my re-entry experience in a few words. The statement I came up with explains where I’m at in my new state of mind: Rest and Re-Invent.

One reader of my blog recently wrote me and asked if I were going to write again; she hoped so. With her in mind, I’m looking forward to sharing some new ideas in the weeks ahead.

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17 thoughts on “My New State (of mind), Part 2

  1. Sarah says:

    We lived out of the country for about 14 years total, back and forth and in different places. I’ve been in the US now for 5 1/2 years and find that I become very, very, very easily bored. I think I have had so many interesting experiences that nothing seems to get me very excited anymore. I just always want to be on the go and somewhere I’m staying put for my son who graduates this year but then I think I will have to be a part time wanderer:)

    • Oh, Sarah, I fully understand!!! I’ve been back in the USA now for 15 months and I am beyond bored!!! I’ve made a decision to move abroad again! Keep reading my blog to see how it all unfolds, and yes, I would encourage you to go abroad again after your son graduates. Are you a teacher?

  2. Cate says:

    I’ve so enjoyed getting to know you and seeing your amazing progress towards your relaunch! Thank you for your kind words about the Re-entry Relaunch Mastermind. 🙂 I’m glad to see you’ve started up this blog again and can’t wait to see where it all goes!!

    • Thank you, Cate. The feeling are mutual, I promise. I’ve told so many people about the Re-entry Relaunch Mastermind. It helped me so very much. I am happy to have started writing again. Thank you for everything!

  3. […] Last week, I shared my new re-entry framework: Rest and Re-Invent. After months of resting, I’ve decided to re-invent in two directions. 1) I’m updating my archived file with Search Associates. I’m going to move forward in securing a new international job post for next year. 2) I’ve decided to develop a published workbook and provide coaching services for teachers who want personal guidance in finding an international teaching position. Without further ado, let’s get this party started. […]

  4. Jane Ann says:

    Glad you are writing again.

  5. Yes, welcome back, Anita! It’s wonderful to read your words again. So you are on a new journey. I’m looking forward to following it. Your enthusiasm is always contagious. How was the six week “Re-Launch” course?

    Have a productive week!

    (Great post title, by the way.)

    • Theadora!!! Are you still in Paris? My heart is so heartbroken for all the tragedy in France. Thank you so much for being encouraging. I’ve been in a tough place since coming back to the USA, but I’m getting myself up, dusting off and jumping back in the saddle with new ideas. I cannot give enough credit to Dr. Cate and the Re-Launch course. It was amazing and completely helpful. I owe credit to Dr. Cate and all my group for the progress that I’ve made in redefining myself and finding a way to walk forward to the next great thing. Please stay in touch!

  6. Roseanne Elling says:

    A belated “welcome back!” Anita!
    Thanks for the recommendation. I closed my practice last Aug, but as a volunteer am counseling some missionaries who have returned from overseas. I have a feeling that will be a good resource.

    • Dear Roseanne, it is so good to hear from you! Congratulations on closing your practice! Thank you for the volunteer work you are doing for missionaries. I’ve often thought of people, such as these. I was only gone two years and I’ve had a miserable time in re-entry. I can’t imagine how difficult it is for those who have been gone even longer. Please let them know that I have become the local Dallas Ambassador of the “I Am A Triangle” Facebook group. I have more information on that if they are interested.

  7. Angie says:

    Good for you to be writing again! I am putting together a proposal for a sabbatical to teach overseas again, hoping its accepted by my school board. Travel itch got to me again. Cross your fingers for me! Sincerely, Angie

    Sent from my iPhone


  8. Suzanne says:

    Anita, the struggle is real. Thank you for your transparency. I landed at a fabulous school in Mexico just a few hours from Texas in Monterrey (it’s not scary like the media wants Ilya to think). If you want to consider a position here during this winter’s hiring season then feel free to stay in touch. I loved the UAE but felt the need to be closer to family. I pray I never have to teach in America before I retire in ten years or so! Godspeed.

    • Suzanne! It is WONDERFUL to hear from you! Thank you for writing! Please email me and tell me about your life! I am very interested in learning about your school. Do you still have my email? One good friend just moved last week to Dubai. I’m so excited for her!

  9. Melanie says:

    Waiting eagerly to see where your relaunch takes you! xx

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