Life abroad comes with some major plusses, so I try to refrain from discussing any negatives and end up sounding like a whiny, unappreciative expat. Over the past few months I’ve been stashing away my stateside desires in a mental file titled “secret longings.” And while the top 20 things on the list are seeing family members and friends, the next item is a home of my own.
It doesn’t help that I feed this longing with architecture magazines, design blogs and online wallpaper shopping (this one for the hypothetical powder room)… all while sitting in my landlord furnished apartment. Nor does it help that I grew up in a home lovingly decorated by my professional interior designer mother. What was once a distant longing has become a full-blown obsession and I have only myself to blame. I’ve got grass is greener syndrome and that grass is butted up against a Craftsman-style house in D.C. Or a beach cottage in California…
…I’m actually not picky about the architecture. I’d like something small, something of my own. I simply want the freedom to paint the walls any color I like, to tack up artwork I love and fill it with my favorite books. I guess what I’m really longing for is the right to invest in a place. Put down roots. Make plans. A scary prospect for most globe-trotting expats, but there it is.
Is this just a case of wanting what I cannot have? Is there a cure? When we lived in our condo in D.C.–steady jobs and family nearby–all we wanted to do was travel. We believed the expat life to be the best way to carpe diem. I’m realizing more and more these days that living life to the fullest does not have to be flashy or against the grain to qualify. It is embracing the life you have instead of whiling away the days daydreaming. Which is why I’ve resolved to invest more in my Swiss life and put effort into personalizing my home. My “real life” isn’t in the States, it’s here.