• coming back to america after living abroad

9 things I can’t wait to do when I’m back in Ohio, TODAY!

I am coming back to the US! I will be in good ol’ Lexington Ohio for the most part for the almost 6 weeks I’ll be home. So many things were running through my head of what I want to do when I’m back, and more importantly what I want my mom to cook. When coming back to America after living abroad, I bet other expats make similar lists!

If you’re new to my blog, I go home from India each monsoon for a month or a little more! and it’s always such a great time. I’m actually writing this right before I leave, live time, which I don’t usually do on the blog– which means there will be even MORE spelling errors. Sorry!

9 things I can’t wait to do while I’m home

1. Eat everything…

ALL I can think about is food, but that’s nothing new. First stop after the airport is Chipotle then we go to my brothers house near the airport so I can see them. There’s a high likelihood that on the way home to Lexington I will get a Big Mac. I could bet you $200 comfortably that I will eat a burrito and a Big Mac and have the best nights sleep, ever.

Just for shits and giggles here are the places I’m dying to eat at other than Chipotle and McD’s: local mexican restaurant, BW3’s, Wendy’s, Auntie Annes Pretzels, and RoadHouse.

… & here are the things I want my mom & dad to cook (and this time I’m really going to pay attention and learn, I think): country fried chicken, stuffed peppers, shredded chicken, cheesy potatoes, deviled eggs, broccoli salad, steak, giant pork chops, many many racks of ribs, chili, oatmeal raisin cookies… that is literally just the tip of the ice-burg people.

guide to maui where to eatThis is me in Maui, eating mcdonalds, pizza hut, and taco bell. I’m a mess.

coming back to america after living abroadThurman’s in columbus

coming back to america after living abroad

2. Shop with my mom

We shop like nobody’s business.. and we like to make sure the amount we spend is not my dad’s business and only share about the great deals we got, right mom? and of course how much money she saved him. There are always things I need to stock up on for going back to India and clothes that need replaced. But mostly, I just like going to Polaris or Easton for the day, having Panera with my mom and telling her all the boots she’s trying on look the same. As a kid I used to put “blinders” on her when we walked past shoe sections so we could go home faster, now I can shop for hours… it’s exhausting just thinking about it.

In case you’re curious what I stock up one: obviously food is #1 and about 40/50 pounds of my suitcase when I go back, but also It’s a 10 hair stuff, Clinique moisturizer, hair clips and ties, Biore face wash, small candles from Bath and Body works, pigs ears for the dog, Ben’s xmas present (yes I think this far ahead), a new macbook (fingers crossed), and a couple dresses.

ohio country guns and amishthis is what my suitcase looked like when I came back from Ohio last year

3. see my little brandi dog!!

I lost two dogs living in India my little retriever Piso and our 1 year labrador Huckleberry Finn. It made me miss my childhood dog even more. She’s a lab/retriever mix and is getting old which makes me really sad. KitKat and Shanti Dog are fine in Goa and have Ben to watch them which means all my attention is on Brandi! Usually my dad and I shoot guns in the backyard for fun, but this year I think we should skip because Brandi is getting older and it scares her!

ohio country guns and amish

ohio country guns and amish

ohio country guns and amish

4. back to my brothers again

I’ll see my bro on and off while I’m home but I want to go stay at his house with him and his wife Bre for a weekend. I can beat him in board games per usual, and we can watch Big Bang Theory and eat, per usual. Maybe a little Criminal Minds.. depends how caught up he is. Yes, big plans I know.

ohio country guns and amishthis is what my suitcase looked like when I came back from Ohio last year

5. Going to my grandmas

A lot can change while you’re away. My grandpa died this year and I wasn’t there which makes me sad, and I wasn’t there help my grandma transition to her new home. I’m going to stay with her, take her shopping, and get a bird house that I plan to illegal screw into a tree at the cemetery. My grandma said it’s a good idea, so that’s that. This is a woman who gets her hair done to go to “the chili joint” aka skyline chili, so I’d say she knows a thing or two about life and good choices.

ohio country guns and amishthis is what my suitcase looked like when I came back from Ohio last year

6. Vacation in Toronto!

Instead of the same old same old to the beach, we are going to Canada. I know right! Sounds so normal, yet I don’t know anyone who vacations in Canada. We are 8 hours from Toronto, and I’ve never even been to Canada. We’re going to check out Niagara Falls too on the way. In Toronto, we plan to eat and drink and be merry… that’s about it.

7. catch up with friends like a 15 year old would

This really should be #7 but politics aside, my besties all live in the US still. Luckily college roomie Alex will be in Ohio the same time as me, but the rest of my college friends live outside Ohio now and I don’t know if I’ll get to see them. My highschool friends are in Ohio which is great. I’ll see Arielle and Rachie cakes in Cinci, and the rest I’m going to organize a bonfire (aka mom if you’re reading this, can we have a bonfire and will you get hotdogs and beer?). My car has been sold, I don’t have insurance to drive (well, I don’t have any insurance in life actually), and I won’t have a cell phone. So if you want to see me you can call me on my moms cell +1 847 374 1974

JK! Did you really think I’d put my mom’s cell on here? Maybe, since I put it on Fb last year which didn’t get the most positive response from her.

ohio country guns and amishthis is what my suitcase looked like when I came back from Ohio last year

ohio country guns and amishthis is what my suitcase looked like when I came back from Ohio last year

ohio country guns and amishthis is what my suitcase looked like when I came back from Ohio last year

ohio country guns and amishthis is what my suitcase looked like when I came back from Ohio last year

8. Get a hair cut, finally & doctor stuff

In India I just get my hair cut straight across to keep it simple. It looks really boring but it’s nice because I can go in any street side shop and the person won’t mess it up. I want to get layers and cut LOTS of dead hair off the ends. I usually do all my healthcare in India but since I’m turning 26 I am about to be off my parents insurance for good. So the allergist appointment I’ve put off is finally going to happen, and remember that gross story about my toe nail getting ripped off? I’m finally going to deal with the outcome of that, 2 years later.


Mostly all I want to do is just chill at home. Since I can’t drive that makes it easy enough, but I like staying at home when I’m in Ohio. My house is really cozy and super clean thanks to my mom. I sort of am obsessed with things being clean, and living in India with Ben and a dog prevents that. I also like that all things at my parents house “work”. They just do, like magic. I don’t have to call electricians and this and that. Basically, I just work on my computer, lay out, do stuff with my mom and chill while my dad is at work (my mom will be home because she has summers off).. then we will have dinner and chill some more! I have a week in Toronto, weekend at Grandmas, couple nights at Lake Erie, weekend at my bro’s, and time with friends.. so when I’m home I’m happy to do nothing, until you see me bitch on in 2 weeks that “i’m bored” then send me a slap emoji.

Also, we’ll celebrate my birthday!

ohio country guns and amish



What would YOU do if you were away for a year? Curious about Ohio? Here’s an article: my last time home in ohio.




About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Soniya June 17, 2015 at 2:42 pm - Reply

    Wow ..please take me too…JK :)) ..Your grandma is so cute :)

  2. Marilia: wanderingislander.com June 17, 2015 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    Have a wonderful time back home! Enjoy it!
    Sounds like you have a great family waiting for you! :)

  3. Kathi June 17, 2015 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    If you find yourself in Columbus and have time for a beverage with a reader, let me know!

    • Rachel Jones June 19, 2015 at 3:27 am - Reply

      that would be nice :D since i don’t have a car my mom or car insurance my mom will have to come too hahah!

  4. Anne June 17, 2015 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    Oh! (io) I used to live in German Village near Thurmans, yum! And don’t forget about Jeni’s ice cream. Their Thai peanut butter and salty caramel are amazing.

  5. Sandy June 17, 2015 at 10:42 pm - Reply

    That was fun reading all of that, I’m glad that you’ll get to spend lots of time with your parents and your grandmother as well as your friends! I don’t know how you can eat so much and look like you do, lucky you!

    If you ever want to come to Maine, give a shout! It’s awfully nice here in the summer as well…

    enjoy your time in Ohio….Sandy

    • Rachel Jones June 19, 2015 at 3:26 am - Reply

      well my metabolism is slowing.. i am going to start jogging ! i need to start being more healthy for sure. I’ve always wanted to go to Maine!

  6. Melanie June 18, 2015 at 2:08 am - Reply

    I know just the feeling! It is so exciting to make it back home and to be able to eat such good food!!!
    Melanie @ meandmr.com

  7. Edna June 18, 2015 at 7:29 am - Reply

    You know what’s a funny coincidence, I was born in Ohio and named after a woman in Lexington (KY)! Have a great time at home and happy early birthday!

    • Edna June 18, 2015 at 7:30 am - Reply

      (also I just turned 26 last month and I miss being on my parents’ health insurance so badly. Milk it while you still can!!)

      • Rachel Jones June 19, 2015 at 3:25 am - Reply

        what a coincidence (your other comment)! Now that you’re off their insurance did you have to sign up for obama care? I’m not sure since i dont live in US but technically i am still a resident.

        • Edna June 19, 2015 at 11:54 am - Reply

          Oh man, I have no idea…I didn’t even think about it! But now that I’ve quit my job in China I suppose I’m legally a resident of the US again, so I feel like I might have to? Let me know if you figure this out!

  8. Justine June 18, 2015 at 7:44 am - Reply

    Haha, I can completely relate to this. I’m going back to California in three weeks and I have all sorts of lists going on about the food I want to eat and the stuff I’m going to buy. After I get picked up at the airport I’m going straight to In-n-Out and then stopping off at my favorite burrito joint. So excited! Ha, I love that photo of your suitcase. Bringing Sour Patch Kids and real mayonnaise is brilliant. Something I know I’m going to bring this time around are tons and tons of Ranch Dressing packets so I can make my own Ranch whenever I want. Oh how being an expat deprives us of so many comfort foods ;)

    • Rachel Jones June 19, 2015 at 3:24 am - Reply

      how do you make your own ranch? i have some packets in Goa but i dont want to waste one of my good mayos to make it and not sure how it’ll taste with off brand…?

      • Justine June 19, 2015 at 6:39 am - Reply

        I just mix it with whatever the Indonesian brand mayonnaise is that I buy here. I don’t really like the mayo on its own but the dressing tastes good!

        • Rachel Jones June 19, 2015 at 5:52 pm - Reply

          ooo… will u email me how you make it? i want to try for sure. how long does it last in the fridge?

  9. Natasha Thompson June 18, 2015 at 8:00 am - Reply

    Sounds like a great trip home!! Enjoy your time with your family. Enjoy your trip to Toronto! I live a couple hours north of there, check out Sneaky Dee’s in Toronto for some great cheap Mexican food. It’s a cool punk rock joint.

  10. Julia June 18, 2015 at 9:58 am - Reply

    Sounds like a plan! Have a fabulous time at home. Coming back after a long time is always a great feeling. Enjoy yourself – as well as the food. ;-)

  11. Flora June 18, 2015 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    Looks like you’ve got a wealth of activities planned out for the month! Hope you have a fantastic time back home :)

  12. RunawayBrit June 18, 2015 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    I am totally relating to this right now – I left Mumbai 3 weeks ago, but have been travelling around Europe since then. Tomorrow, I go back to the UK for 3 weeks. The first thing that I am going to do is book an appointment to sort out the mess that my hair has become since moving to India. Then I will eat, eat and eat some more – mainly beef of course!

    Happy holidays :-)

    • Rachel Jones June 19, 2015 at 3:22 am - Reply

      OMG India ruins my hair !!! i just got it fixed this AM and cant stop touching it

  13. Michelle June 18, 2015 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    Oh my gosh Rachel your post made me LOL! You remind me so much of myself! Food is always the top on my list…what I wouldn’t do for some Chipotle right now!! And I love your suit case! Gotta bring that Ranch!

    Your family sounds amazing. Have a safe and fun trip home!

  14. Alex, Speaking Denglish June 18, 2015 at 4:52 pm - Reply

    My list is almost the EXACT same when I go home, except finally I have switched to exclusively having my doctors in Germany – I hope you have the greatest time and soak up every minute!

    • Rachel Jones June 19, 2015 at 3:21 am - Reply

      Thanks!! that’s cool you’ve switched completely with docs. i will too after this trip as my insurance will be done.

  15. Emily June 19, 2015 at 6:42 am - Reply

    Oooh – let me know when you’re in Toronto – it would be fun to meet up!

    • Rachel Jones June 19, 2015 at 5:53 pm - Reply

      yeah cool!!! i’m there like 13th ish! will u be around?

  16. veena June 19, 2015 at 9:21 am - Reply

    my first stop is always taco bell on the way home from the airport, and on my second night back i go to my favourite indian restaurant…even if i’ve just returned from india!

    i probably won’t go back to the states until next spring, but i am already dreaming about all the memphis food, visiting graceland [for the 29th time. whatever], and drinking gallons and gallons of chocolate milk. it’s seriously what i am craving most right now.

    have fun at home! enjoy those creature comforts and being pampered for as long as you can!

    • Rachel Jones June 19, 2015 at 5:54 pm - Reply

      chocolate milk! i haven’t thought of that but now I think i’ll make a glass ;) and taco bell is my LIFE! lol

  17. Ashley June 19, 2015 at 5:23 pm - Reply

    Enjoy your time at home! I’m not sure how long you’ll have in Niagara Falls, but I’d highly recommend visiting Niagara-on-the-Lake, which is about 20 minutes from Niagara Falls. Such a pretty town on Lake Ontario and lots of wineries in the area. And let me know if you need recommendations for Niagara Falls – my hometown is 15 minutes from the Falls!

    • Rachel Jones June 19, 2015 at 5:56 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the tip! I think we’re kind of planning on just a stop by only because my parents have to get back to work :(

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