By Gary Barbour


Tomorrow, I’m hopping on a plane to visit the US for the first time since I left. I would, in an ideal world, have a month, but I work for a company that doesn’t believe in long school holidays. For the 7 days I’ll be on American soil, I’ll be in the company of people I haven’t seen for almost two years. Obviously, I’ve given a lot of thought to surviving the week.

So, enjoy some thoughts on going home.

“When are you finished with this?” is the new “Are you seeing someone?”

You know you already hear this during grainy Skype calls. The one time you answered “Whenever I’m ready” was an immediate and tangible mistake. Your mother’s sigh was conveyed by satellite and little internet elves over 3000 miles in less than a second. Now, take that sigh and multiply the disappointment my one million.

On the upside, at least “When are you going to put your degree to use?” has been taken out back and Old Yeller’d.

“Are you seeing someone?” is alive and well

Just because there’s a new question people love to ask, don’t begin to think they all don’t want to know about your love life. As we already know, you are defined by whomever you are currently porking. In the case that you are dating, get ready for shaky questioning about race and/or ability to communicate in English. Fight the urge to point out he/she speaks better English than many people you know, especially if you live in places that get angry at accents. Yes, they exist.

Cool it on the “Back in *Insert Country*…”

Don’t look at Asian fruits (See above, BAM) and comment about the quality. People know that they’re better fresh off the tree, and you don’t want to be that person. You live in a world where mangosteens exist and are shipped to dreary, drizzly cities in the middle of winter. Shut your cock slot and eat them. *drops mic*

You missed stuff

Look at pictures from before the move. Maybe you lost weight, gained a tan, and grew a beard. Maybe you gained a little beer weight. That’s just what people see. Then there will be the dozens of small changes in your personality and theirs. You left, they didn’t. You all grew.  Face the fact that time didn’t stop when you left. You missed birthdays, weddings, funerals, countless small joys, and an equal number traumas.

Sit down at the table, sink into the small comforts, take a piece of ham, and enjoy the time you’re home. Because your plane will leave. This doesn’t end. You’ll see your special someone, enjoy your fresh mangosteen, and keep growing.

“So… what’s next?”

“Picking apples in New Zealand, bitches!”


Gary teaches English to Middle Eastern students at an American school in Malaysia. Read about the convergence  of this cultural mishmash on his blog, Collecting Sparrows.


4 thoughts on “Surviving the Holidays (When You Go Home)

  1. asian fruit. lol. going back (for holidays or whatever) is the time to stock up! grab whatever you want or need. Bring extras and sell it to the poor souls who can’t get it regularly!

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