(an extract from a post back in October)
I've just done a Goodbye.
I didn't love it.
I didn't love it.
That is what I want to talk about.
Good byes are the hidden Expat Tax. And it weighs heavy on us all.
There are the most commonly thought of Goodbyes -
* the agonisingly sad driving away from home, airport-bound.
* the stomach-churning Let's All Be Brave & Practical Until the Very Last Second and Pretend This Isn't Really Happening.
OR the hideous farewells actually AT the airport. The Stomach-Churn will follow you here. You cannot escape the Stomach Churn.
Both scenarios. Horrific. The guilt. The good ol' fashioned waaaaaa-hahhaahahaaaaaaaaa sadness. The suppression of the I Wanna Drop Everything and Run All The Way Home reflex.
There is another kind of Expat Goodbye too. Which also hurts. And doesn't require you to go anywhere.
The one where people leave YOU.
No no no. WE leave! WE do the leaving! Goddammit. ..................................WE do NOT get left!
This Goodbye happens when other Expats leave, to either stop being Expats or, to go be Expats somewhere else.
Making strong connections with other people can be really hard anyway, but, when you are an Expat can be really extra-hard.
Our world is very transient.
When you live away from family & friends, people that have known you through the bad haircuts, teenage dramas or relationship euphoria and hiccups, when you DO make what feels like a real connection, it can be quite intense.
I've touched on this Friend thing before - in The Rugby Post & also, in The Happiness Vampires
Friends, the good 'uns, become an immediate practical source of support when you do not have your family immediately at hand.
Sometimes that support comes in the very simple form of just a Proper Belly Laugh.
Maybe handing you a cold one, that makes you contemplate a certain algebraic equation. Remember what we were talking about earlier?
Or letting you roll in their Money-Pit.
Goodbyes suck. All of them.
Whether you are the Leaver or the Leave-ee.