I spent 27 years in the USA, became a citizen, and raised two children there. But I never felt “at home” and consciously created an “Allan bubble” in order to remain (somewhat….) sane. No US media, no TV, no Hollywood schlock, nothing. I focused on the astonishing variety of scenery and wilderness and spent as much time active outdoors as my work schedule and commitments to my children would allow. I never really thought of myself as having tried to become part of the USA even while I valued it for some things (for example, the ease of doing startups compared to elsewhere).
It’s been nearly 12 months now since I returned to Europe and it took me nearly 8 months to detox fully. Being in a beautiful country (Switzerland) has definitely helped a lot — gloomy introspective timid and damp Britain would likely have been a rather depressing experience — and being able to talk French every day has also been marvelous. I think those of us who are European by culture (e.g. favor personal connections over ever-more acquisition of possessions, and favor reading over staring at a screen, and favor serious music over vacuous noise) must carry our culture with us when we’re elsewhere and then refresh ourselves by returning to the source for meaningful periods of time.
OK, this is rambling. Basically I’m glad to be back on this side of the Atlantic, and very glad to have discovered your writing.