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29 November 2007


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This post is very meaningful to me as you know are children live far away from us............
How beautiful are all your thoughts.
I love you
Christmas Cheer all through the year is what you are to me.
Love Jeanne ^j^

Julie Ann

I always think I shall truly speak French when I am able to think in French. With a house I always consider it home once I know exactly where all the light switches are in the dark !


this was a lovely post, corey, and one that i found personally meaningful. i've been living in sweden for 17 years, and while i love my adopted country the homesickness has never left me. like a bruise that has never gone away is exactly right. i thought it would get easier over the years, but surprisingly for me it's gotten harder. your post touched me.


I think I know what you mean, although I only lived abroad for a year. When I was in Germany, I had the most vivid dreams that I was at home and then when I came home, I had vivid dreams about being back in Germany. Still do, even though it's been over 30 years! One of my German professors here told me once that, because I was rather a quiet person in class, he sometimes wondered if I was truly understanding the language. His mind was set to rest when he realized I was laughing at the jokes!
By the way - I just love the door knobs! I've always loved unusual door knobs, but I've never seen any like those.


Your insights and the poetic way you express them never fail to draw a sigh of agreement and a smile. Loved the last two posts - again, thank you for sharing yourself this way.

Sue K

While all of your posts are beautiful and thoughtful, this one was especially touching. I'm living in the US, where I was born, but in a state that just feels foreign to me. I've been unsettled and "rootless" but your post has helped a great deal toward examining my attitude - I hope to adopt a bit of it.

Thank you for the daily inspiration - I appreciate it.


So true Corey!


Oh my goodness Corey. You really touched my heart this morning.

Every word that you wrote is so true.

(Even though we've lived in the same house for 17 years, I feel as though we've lived in a new country for the past two years...every word is so true!)

What amazing insight you have, and beautiful and true words to convey that insight.


My Melange

Well said Corey. Very inspiring, but it makes me think twice about ex-pat status. But hey...you never know ;)


I, too, loved this post. You have a way of conveying your heart to us that goes beyond words and pictures. It's as if your heart is connecting us. Wierd, but true. I've never lived in a foreign country but I did move to Texas, if you know what I mean. And I still very slightly understand what you're saying here. And yet, my heart understands. I can't really explain it. I wish you peace.


Having lived in Europe all over and in Japan as well as Canada and down south in the U.S. I can TOTALLY Understand what you mean. I would ask people just to talk about anything just so i could just listen!! Love the pics of the doorknockers (and the one odd key, too)


Bonjour Corey!
I know exactly how you feel. Having lived overseas most of my life, the customs, food and way of living here in the States were very awkward to me when we finally moved back. There is a dark spot in my heart that still yearns for cobblestone streets, sidewalk cafes, and street markets.
Ayez un jour joli!


When we lived in the Netherlands, I expected and was prepared for the big differences, but never got used to the small things like the doors opening opposite. I loved the American community there. It was easy to spot each other, everyone was eager to help the new arrivals and friendships didn't wait for someday.

Le petit cabinet de curiosites

Great post like always , it reminds me my expat life in New York state ..as you say you meet french poeple abroad who you will never meet in France ...
One of the small( big ) thing (in my amarican family) was to celebrate christmas on the 25th of December , here ,above all in Provence it is on the most important is on the 24th of december...


I've always admired you for living in a place that is completely and utterly foreign and sticking it out.


This year has been pretty hard for me since moving to Morocco. I wept for days when my sister gave birth (I didn't even see her pregnant.) It's been like living in this altered life where the one you used to live in has continued without you but you still catch glimpses of it from time to time. I'm truly thankful for the internet camera. Sometimes it feels like I'm sitting in my parent's living room just having an everyday chat. And of course they like it because they get to see the kids! It's sad to know that the homesickness might never really go away. I wish someone had told me that when we lived in Spain before. We went home thinking we were going to go right back to the way things were, but nothing was ever the same for us in the States.

Pinkie Denise

Dear Corey,
Your post today is just so, beautiful, I hear
your heart speaking through the letters on the
pages. I loved seeing you through them. Thank
you for sharing Pinkie Denise


Hi Corey,
I so admire your courage!!
You are an amazing woman.
I strive to be more like you.


Very good thoughts. Separation can be more than a matter of geography, it can be through time. I feel that I have two homes-- one in the past and one in the present. Christmas always reminds of this fact.

Alisa Logue

I so adore your blog Corey! I lived in Belgium for a year and you so eloquently put words to my soul. Reading your blog makes me homesick for my foreign home but that's a good thing because as you said; "it's another place within myself." Merci! -Alisa

Sue McG

Ah Corey, you've summed up the very essence of homesickness and being an expat so perfectly that you put my own feelings into your words.


I think....that the one thing I would miss most in living in another country is...food. LOL (Aren't I terrible! Screw the family and worry about the food! Hahahahaha)

Tittin Rinde

Great post and again, fantastic photos!
What a combination of gifts you have there - your words and your eye! Just wanted to let you know that I just published that post I mentioned.
Oh, and by the way, our new but quite old house has just such a lovely maid's hand . You must see it sometime.





So true, and so well said, with beautiful photos.


It's got to be hard not to be with loved ones whenever you want. When you are in France you miss your first family & when you are in the US you miss your French family.

You are very lucky though to live & learn in two different worlds.

I'd love to hear what is different in France about TOILET PAPER, & other silly things.


lovely. thanks for sharing.

Mary Hubbard

beautiful Corey! touches my heart as always, I phoned a relative in the Azores the other day and spoke to him and her, I had a real conversation with them,they could understand me....Oh! what a beautiful romantic language the Portuguese is, they greeted me with the word Creda, Oh! Creda,(loved much precious) is it really your voice? yes, I understand the music in the words that are rare and only speaks to the heart that understands,

Mary Hubbard

beautiful Corey! touches my heart as always, I phoned a relative in the Azores the other day and spoke to him and her, I had a real conversation with them,they could understand me....Oh! what a beautiful romantic language the Portuguese is, they greeted me with the word Creda, Oh! Creda,(loved much precious) is it really your voice? yes, I understand the music in the words that are rare and only speaks to the heart that understands,


Comfort is found in the simplest, most ordinary customs and they are missed when you realise they are no longer the norm.
It is all a part of the journey.


living in a foreign country sounds familiar to me. adapting and learning are the words that come into my mind.
then after a few years you think you did, finding the right turn, it starts all over again. adapting, learning!
back home life continues and when visiting family and friends you realise your absence making adjustments as well.
adapting and learning!


How well you explained this eternal mourning we carry for the homeland left behind. I carried it around for forty years until the chance presented itself to jump back across the Atlantic again. To my dismay, I no longer fit into the rhythm of my cradle. People, so impressed with my Portuguese speaking ability wanted to know how a "foreigner" managed to learn it so well....

I am making peace with the gentle hills of Central New York and for the first time allowing myself to inhale its beauty, while taking comfort in the messages whispered to me by the winds of my beloved Portugal: We remember you, we remember you..but I am merely a ghost traveling with the winds....


The photos, as always, just amazing. Your words touched a nerve and I know just how you feel although I did it in reverse! I do still miss England after 45 years living in the US, and sometimes my heart physically aches to live there again. However, when I visit it's not the same because so much of the US is now in the UK. What I want is for it to be as it was when I was a child/teen and that will never happen.

So, I will visit as long as I am able, enjoy the time there, but know that America is my final home...................unless I decide to move to my brother's village in France, ha! ha!


Lovely post, great observations, beautiful photos. I especially thought "...eventually laugh at their jokes" was quite an astute observation.


One day I forgot that odd, yet common key, so I had to knock... and who answered would not have been there if I had been able to let myself in...


You might think it strange, but living in Hawaii is like living in a foreign country. There are things that are familiar to me,(since I grew up doing them) like taking your shoes off when entering a home, and calling everyone a bit older than you, "Auntie" and "Uncle." Of course there is the Hawaiian language and "Pidgin."


every day - a knock on the door...

a new door - for sure - each and every one

a new one...

knock - is there someone there

to answer - to open the door...

maybe yes - maybe no

and yet we knock again just to be sure

each door is answered by a different host

each knock - knocked by a different hand

and we knock...

and we answer

the Host will always let us in

and offer a seat, tea, and a story...

xox - eb.

Kim H

How about this one from my week... I buy a tin of green beans at the tiny corner store and the sweet old lady asks if I'd like her to open them... some people here don't have a can opener of their own.


and yet, those small things you miss are the first ones to seem weird when you go back home, and are still looking for the button on top of the toilet to flush because you forgot about the handle on the side. just as i sometimes longed to hear english when i lived in sweden, i long for the sound of swedish and miss the small differences, like pear-flavored ice cream and juice, their midsummer and christmas traditions. having two homes is hard because i can't live in both, yet both have a part of my heart.


It is amazing how we all learn to adapt, whether we like it or not, we do.There are some things we just have to except and things we must never forget~

Barbara Torris


Isn't it funny that those of us that live mundane lives (of quiet desperation?) view your life as almost idyllic. We would live in Paris for the rest of our lives, we think, without a thought. But the reality is that we would always have one foot in Paris and the other where we were raised. I would think that getting used to being torn in two would be hard. I am a person that loves where I am as long as I have my husband and children available. You noticed I did not say close! Have a great day.

I loved the post...it was so well done that my heart ached.



it makes you feel like knocking at these doors !!


and I forgot the essential : your comments about discoring life abroad are so true ! I saw myself years backwards... when I started living in England !


Hey Corey
Once again a wonderful post and so succinct in your observations. I too live a long way from home and can so relate to your post. Thank you for sharing your life with us and your awesome attitude. Mxx


I don't think I know how to post a comment properly! This is my third try. ;)

Have you written about "One doesn't expect to be thrown off by the little things such as how to open a door, toilet paper, signatures, hand shakes, ice cubes..."? I'd love to know what it is one doesn't expect to be thrown off by when it comes to ice cubes and toilet paper. If you've posted on these before would you be able to guide me to a link for the post?

You have a beautiful blog, I really enjoy reading it!



Corey your photography and way with words just amaze me! Both are so beautiful. I too am curious about toilet paper, do tell. :) Marva


Such poignant thoughts. Are we ever *really* settled where ever we are - outside of our childhood home or our memory of a place? I wonder...


Those lines brought tears to my eyes , Corey , they are so meaningful to me right now . I don't feel at home in Brazil , yet my kids are here with me . I miss France . I thank you for your intuition , délicatesse , châleur humaine , and amazing ability to write beautiful lines that echo in the life of perfect strangers far away in the world . Merci .


Thank you for your beautiful essay. I felt like I was walking next to you, trying to open the doors with you. Just lovely.

Merisi's  Vienna

you have put in beautiful words feelings I shared all my adult life. Wherever I am, I miss some part of my life. However, I try to keep them close to my heart and live for the moment. I'd not be who I am today, if I had stayed only in one place.

Sue McG

Corey I returned to this post again when trying to explain expat homesickness - I hope you don't mind that I've linked to it on my blog - your words describe it perfectly.

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