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Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Hardest Part

When we contemplated this crazy adventure of being abroad for a long stretch, we came across an article that said there were two key points in time when attempting such a thing: the 6 month mark (presumably when the honeymoon was over and reality set in) and the 3 year mark. I couldn't imagine what might change between year two and year three, but I think I'm starting to get it now.
Holly (headed home) and Sky (still around)
Miriam,  Mike, Neil, Inge and Clarke (mostly gone)
There's something about that space and time when things change. You may not change, but some of the people around you do and, even if you're content, they're not (or life just happens) and friends start moving away. You don't know how much your friends mean to you, until you start realizing that they aren't going to be around. Our friend John passed away this year and that was hard. Harder yet, for Kathy, who was left behind.
John and Kathy
It was unexpected and the city doesn't feel the same without him here. His wife returned "home" and so, in a way, we lost her, too. Many more of our friends are freer now, able to leave for extended periods of time and, as most wanderers do, there are undiscovered places calling to them, as well as the obligations to family and friends back home. Some marriages don't weather the change of location and this creates a bit of chaos. (This is a real thing...several long time marriages have collapsed under the pressure of expat life, with usually one spouse missing home and the other content to be "away".) Others are called away due to family illness and they go quickly in a flurry of activity, leaving a hole, where once friendship lived.
Our bike tour group; most have left to go home or elsewhere
This is the hardest part. I'm sure this is something that our friends have experienced before, when we were the new kids, but we're starting to be the old kids, the ones that have been here the longest and that is an odd experience. Usually, we're the ones who leave, moving on before things get too settled, but now we're the "leavees". At some point the wheel will turn and we'll be off and running again, but for now we're left to adapt to the changes.

Before I close, I just want to shout out to the friends that are still around, the ones that are near and dear to us. We probably don't see you enough, but we're sure glad you're here. To those that have moved on, we still love you, and can't wait to meet again.

1 comment:

  1. What a bittersweet post. I have no words to express my gratitude and appreciation for you and Ron. I hope that we keep in contact and see one another again soon.