Monday, September 20, 2010

International Woman of Mystery: The Next Chapter

I am an International Woman of Mystery. The story of how I got here is told in 3 parts here in this blog:

If you have read my posts, you will see that there was nothing in my nature that encouraged my International pursuit. I was a small town girl who was never meant to leave the small town. I was the girl who cried the first day my mother tried to leave me at school The girl desperately homesick when I first moved to college. The girl who wanted to study abroad in high school but couldn't bare the thought of leaving my Mother. The girl who wanted to travel but never even went on a plane until I was 18. The girl who didn't even have a passport until I turned 20.

But there was some other driving force that propelled me toward the life of an International Woman of Mystery. And it's that's force that's been pushing me forward ever since.

I took the road less traveled. I said yes to opportunities when I wanted to say no. I chose to push my boundaries to the limits and I refused to accept my routine-loving homebody nature.

I chose adventure over stability. I threw caution to the wind and dived head in to each new challenge. I worked hard and played harder.

I struggled to adapt to different cultures. I struggled to fit in and make friends. I started my life over from scratch many times - each time reinventing myself into a slightly different and hopefully improved version.

And somewhere along the way, I traded in the small town girl identify for the international one. I adapted to it and I embraced it and being international started to define me. I fear that I am no longer very American and I definitely fear there is no way that I will fit back in as a small town girl.

But this is a fear that very soon I'm going to have to stand up and face.

Because... 

Drum roll please....

AFTER ALMOST YEARS ABROAD, THIS INTERNATIONAL
WOMAN OF MYSTERY IS MOVING BACK HOME!

Yes, that's right. I'm Boston bound in just 2 short weeks. The Company has decided to move me back (you didn't think I was leaving them too did you)?

And I'm panicking!

It's not so much leaving London that is making me sad. It's not that London isn't a great city - it is. It just wasn't for me right now and although I'm sure there are things about London I will miss, I'm not going to be sad to leave it.

And even leaving my current job isn't as sad as I thought it would be. While, I'm staying with The Company I'm switching industries and products and I'm going to do something completely different. And although I am sad to leave my current product after 6+ years, I'm also ready for a change and feel like the timing is right.

But the thing I'm really sad about is that I feel that I'm closing the door on Sweden. I could have just as easily (and probably more readily) moved back to Sweden. I feel like I left my heart in Stockholm. And I don't feel like I'm ready to move on. I would have been happy to move back, but the The Company offered me a great job in Boston that was way too good to pass up. 

Oh the irony of it all. When I moved to Stockholm, I was wishing I could live in Boston and now I'm moving to Boston and wishing I could live in Stockholm.

The prospect of this move is bringing so much anxiety and so many emotions to the surface. I'm nervous and scared and excited and reluctant all at once. But mostly I just have a lot of questions.

By moving back, am I accepting my small town fate? Does this mean that I will become my parents?

What if I move back and then never ever leave the US again? What if my international jet-set days are over?

And despite the fact that I haven't been that happy this past year, I totally recognize that I have a very charmed and often glamorous life. And I do love it (as well as hating it). And I'm afraid that moving back means that I'm trading in my glamorous life for a boring stable one. Will I still be the same fun person? Will my life continue to be an adventure?

What if I hate it when I get there? What if I realize that I'm no longer very American? What if I can't fit back in?

What about American men? Can I date guys who wear baggy jeans and baseball caps and listen to Dave
Mathews?

When I move back, am I still an International Woman of Mystery? Will I loose my identity? Do I need to change the name of my blog? Will I have anything interesting to blog about? Will you still return and follow me and read my posts?

10 comments:

Jewels said...

I don't think you could ever be "just a small town girl" after all you have seen and experienced. I don't care how many times you say, "It sounds so much cooler than it really is"...for somebody who has traveled but never lived abroad...it sounds amazing!

You have strength, determination, drive, and ambition. You may not chosen to be an "international woman of mystery" or chosen to live in foreign places without your job sending you there but just chosing to take the jobs and not stay where it's safe says a lot about you.

You will never be just a small town girl, succumm to a small life, or end up unhappy because you know what you do and don't want. I believe you have the strength and fortitude to make the right decisions for yourself.

It's okay to be nervous about moving home...but don't worry that you will settle for a life you don't love. I don't think you will. :-) Good luck with your next chapter!

Catherine said...

I don't think it's possible for you to lose your international woman of mystery designation - you have experienced and learned so much that those moments and lessons have become an integral part of you. I'm actually really excited to see your next steps back in the US!

Sara Louise said...

At this point, you'll always be an Intl Woman of Mystery. And it's not like Boston is Podunk, USA.
And, you never know what's going to happen next...

petit tresor said...

of course when you move back you will not change. you said that yourself that being International Woman of Mystery is part of who you are. and will be with you forever. everything needs time and you will adjust to your live back home. seeing family and old friends... don't tell me there's nothing you look forward too!
plus, although i've never been - but boston is not a very small city, so you'll still have some museums, exhibitions (or shops, hehe) to visit. and you'll be able to do all those american things you couldn't :o)

and of course i'll read your blog. never change the title. it's who you are. :o)

Matt79 said...

I agree with the comments already posted - you'll still carry your experiences with you, and there are bound to be some worldly and interesting men in that city too!

International Woman of Mystery said...

Thanks so much everyone for your really nice comments. It means a lot and made me feel a lot better too! I'm glad to know you will still be reading. I'm sure repatriation will cause some intersting blog posts. This is really a BIG change for me and I'm nervous as hell, so thank so much for your support and nice words and of course for coming back and reading!

Lifebeginsat30ty said...

I'd worry more about the kacki pants and polo shirts *shudders* I was very surprised about my opinions of the USA after having lived abroad for a year. Some things are better, some things sucketh, and I never realized how many crazy people live in this country. Find some other expats to share your 'otherness' with. It helps!

International Woman of Mystery said...

Oh... i am definitely worried about finding a man in the US with what I consider to be an "appropriate" fashion sense. But I'm trying to take this from a very mature angle - at least observing and writing about it in my blog is going to be entertaining! I will for sure be on the look out for an international community!

Ilze said...

By moving back, am I accepting my small town fate?
No 

Does this mean that I will become my parents? 
No 

What if I move back and then never ever leave the US again? 
Only if you decide not to. 

What if my international jet-set days are over? 
Not gonna happen, unless you decide they are.

 And I'm afraid that moving back means that I'm trading in my glamorous life for a boring stable one. Will I still be the same fun person? 
Of course! 

Will my life continue to be an adventure? 
Im sure it will, if you prefer it to be!

What if I hate it when I get there? What if I realize that I'm no longer very American? What if I can't fit back in?
 Then you know it, otherwise you would be wondering forever. And you move to sweden! Sweden will always be hoping you come back!  

What about American men? Can I date guys who wear baggy jeans and baseball caps and listen to Dave 
Mathews? 
If you try- I would looove to read that blog post! 

When I move back, am I still an International Woman of Mystery?
That's what you are and nobody will ever be able to take that away from you, all that amazing life and career you have had so far.  

Will I loose my identity? 
No, unless you decide to

Do I need to change the name of my blog?
No way
 
Will I have anything interesting to blog about? 
Im sure you will, what an exciting chapter you have ahead of you!  

Will you still return and follow me and read my posts?
Of course! Always and forever! 

International Woman of Mystery said...

Ilze I love you! Thanks for posting that. Can't wait to see you this weekend. Kram Kram!