Night and Day
I've always had problems the second year living abroad. There are two countries this happened: Mexico and China. I lived in Mexico from 2007 - 2009. The first year was amazing. I got to practice Spanish, I made friends both at work and also outside (this is a pro tip when living abroad. When work gets too difficult have a set of people to run to that have nothing to do with your job), and loved the excitement of living in a new place. My second year, though, wasn't so great. I moved to a different city. What I thought would be easier, just wasn't. I didn't enjoy my new job, I didn't do a great job making friends outside of work and what was once an exciting place became mundane. I think the combination of job troubles and not having a wide circle of friends was the cause. Also at that time I was 27 or 28 years old and was met with an inexplicable rush to settle down. I ended up returning to New York wondering what happened.
Fast forward to 2010, I moved to China and lived there until 2012. Same experience; great first year and a horrible second year. This time, though, I didn't change cities or jobs. I stayed in Beijing for the entire two years and kept the same job. I think what's exciting for the first year became mundane in the second year. And why live abroad only for things to become mundane.
I think these two experiences have made me appreciate home. I'm pretty sure I'll return to living abroad. Before my choice of where to live in the world were almost as if I threw a dart at a map and wherever it landed that's where I went. Next time around I'll give more thought on where to live. And take steps to make sure the place feels like a home.