Monday, July 23, 2018

Summer of goodbyes

It’s one of two things. Either we are at the point in an expat cycle where people are finishing their 2 or 3 year stint and moving. Or it’s the end of 3 years and we know more people than before (and now many of them are moving). Or a combination of those things. Whatever the reason this has been a summer of goodbyes. 

Our Aussie friends repatriated in December, ahead of their shift in school year. And this summer our American friends moved back to the luxury of New York, Target and the joys of extended family. Today another family returned to their previous city of Tokyo. And with that it brings me to 15 goodbyes that we have had to say this year. 

‘Change is the only constant’ is a refrain I’ve drummed into my ears and heart for without it I would be a weeping mess. I’ve hosted farewell brunches, attended dinners and gone on lovely bucket list excursions this year. I’ve bought gifts for kids, mementos for family homes all over the world and written cards of connection. Who knows who will stay in touch. Even with technology at their fingertips people are often fickle and taken by surprise at how much effort staying in touch requires. 

As we get to the halfway point of the summer break I find myself looking forward to what will be another busy school year. It will have plenty to occupy my mind - with it all the new families that will join our community, our building and our school. Also a renewed effort for me to begin thinking about a return to work. I’m ambivalent about how my old skills will fit in with the new world but I’ve decided to at least give it a shot. At least I’ll have tried. 

It’s been a quiet summer. Beside a week away in old stomping grounds we’ve been wandering around the 852 in the heat and rain. Looking forward to a quick visit to see all the folks. And before we know it summer will be at its end and I will have to hunt for my welcoming smile for all the new people coming into our world. 

1 comment:

  1. I resonate so much with this post. We decided a couple of weeks ago, after the school holidays had begun, to return to the UK and now it's a mad flurry of activity before September. So many of the friends we made here on this expat assignment talk about what it is like - this familiar rhythm of bidding goodbyes and hellos. Personally, it is doubly painful as I will have to say goodbye to a dear dear friend I reconnected with accidentally while I was crossing the street in a small Bavarian village, 25 years after we last saw each other and swore to remain in touch through tearful goodbyes. We now live less than a km from each other but I am sure it won't be another quarter of a century before we meet again.