I’ve lived away from my family for most of my twenties. At first being in a new country and discovering new things about myself and the world was the most exciting journey of discovery and the longing was only minimal.
I’d regularly make the long journey home to see family and friends. Getting a quick glimpse of the highlights, which usually included births, deaths, love, careers and the latest gossip.
These brief encounters always repeated, like the latest trailers, only showing the best bits. And part of me was happy to get a snapshot of people’s lives without delving too deep into the details, making it seem like a picture book fairytale. All the mundane day-to-day stripped away, all the drama, big losses, hurt and regrets placed neatly in a corner, to be dealt with another time, another day.
Truth is, as I’ve gotten older, I realise how much I’ve missed out on, living so far away from relatives and friends. The big milestones like weddings and births, but more so the mundane everyday things. Lunch with my mum, spa days with my sister, barbecues with the family and gossip sessions over red wine with my best friend.
Time moves so quickly and before you know it, it’s been a week, a month, a year and you’ve missed out on so much. Yes there’s the phone, Skype, email and Whatsapp, but inevitably there is no replacement for being there in the moment.
Louis Hung said it well: “Communities and families are not built on huge extravaganzas or the occasional, remarkable occurrence; they are built on the intimacy of everyday. With my family and friends, I have not shared such an intimacy in years. Sometimes I feel like an outsider. In many ways I actually am an outsider.” You can check out her post here: http://matadornetwork.com/abroad/ive-given-live-abroad/