If You’re Living Abroad, This is What You’ll Miss
Moving abroad to live in Buenos Aires was the best decision I’ve ever made, hands down. While I was wracked with doubt the day I got on that flight, looking back I have absolutely no regrets. Every day here I feel alive, content and have an incredible sense of peace with myself and my life. Living abroad has also taught me so much!
But, the one thing that remains difficult is the distance between me and my family and friends back home–especially during the holiday season. When I hear about my family’s Christmas plans, I am sad to be missing out on them. While I have celebrated the holidays abroad before, I’ve always been with at least one family member. Now, I wish I could fly home for a visit.
Distance provides a great way of evaluating what and whom matter most to you.
Of course, it’s not just the holiday season that I’m missing out on. When you’re living abroad, you miss out on all the big moments that happen while you’re away: birthdays, new jobs, engagements, hen parties, weddings, and new babies. You see your friends celebrating together and you wish you could be there to join in on the fun.
You’re also not there when your loved ones experience tough times: breakups, losses, and other low points. You try to be there, over Skype and Facebook chat, but it’s never quite the same and it’s heartbreaking not to be able to offer support in person.
Just staying connected with friends can be difficult. As determined as you are to keep in contact, with the wonders of Whatsapp and Skype, the time differences and busy schedules inevitably get in the way. It becomes easy to rely on social media, mistaking updates, photo uploads, comments and likes for real interaction. You feel up to date, without actually having a real conversation. Before you know it, you’re communicating properly only once every few months.
Slowly you start to weed out the important friendships from the superficial ones. Distance provides a great way of evaluating what and whom matter most to you. At least you know that those deep friendships, the ones that you happily spend time maintaining over any channels possible, can survive the distance, and you know you can, and will, pick up eventually where you left off.
So this Christmas, rather than being sad that I’m not at home, I’ll be happy that I’ve made another home for myself.
As much as you disconnect from home, you find new connections abroad. I have been so lucky to develop an incredible group of friends abroad. These friends have become my family here. I have people to celebrate birthdays with, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other special occasions. If I’m feeling homesick, I can rely on them to cheer me up with cake or wine. They make it okay to be far away from home, so that my new place becomes a home away from home.
Now I actually have two homes, a second family, and friends all over the world. So this Christmas, rather than being sad that I’m not at home, I’ll be happy that I’ve made another home for myself; I’ll feel blessed that my life is filled with so much love and support from all corners of the world; and I’ll be thankful for an experience that has profoundly changed my life in so many different way.
To those also abroad this Christmas, away from family and loved ones, I say cheers, salud, prost, and skal! May you have a merry time wherever you are in the world.