Trip Home at 9 Months: Pros & Cons

So, what are the ramifications of leaving Argentina and returning to the US for a vacation nine months into our 14 month sabbatical?

We wondered, would we go back to America and feel we didn’t want to return to Buenos Aires? Or, would we confirm that we didn’t want to live in the US anytime soon? I was going to participate in an intense professional conference, how would I feel about working again? Would the kids have an even harder time coming back to Latin America after a taste of Portland?

The answers to these questions were surprising.

After being home for a bit, it almost seemed as if we had never left. Yet, when we returned to Argentina last weekend, it seemed we had never left as well. We are happy and comfortable in both places. So much for a resolution on that front.

Going home and participating in the Mayor’s Institute on City Design completely re-energized me in terms of work. I was pretty burned out by the time we left, so it’s nice to know that this sabbatical has recharged my intellectual batteries.

And the kids. Going home was very valuable, which was counter-intuitive. I really didn’t expect it. When we first landed in Argentina, whenever they were unhappy, the Zs would compare their experience against what I call “idealized Portland.” In other words, everything suffered in comparison to “idealized Portland.” But, going back at 9 months allowed them to have a good time at home, but cement a more “real Portland” in their heads. And, after starting back to school this week, where they received a warm welcome, they both felt a sense of happiness, familiarity and comfort. They were the “new kids” no longer.

For that alone, it would have been worth the trip!

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