Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Saying Goodbye is Always Hard to Do (but Staying Connected is Not)

 “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” A.A. Milne


It's always been a very challenging part of the #Expat experience.  After a few years settled in a new city, some of your friends start reaching the end of their assignments, and the #farewell parties begin.  I've attended so many...

One of the wonderful aspects of living international is certainly the people you meet.  Most likely you will meet people that come from different corners of the world, some with whom you'd think there is nothing in common, only to discover you share the same strong values of family and community, or maybe you share some common interests that bring you to discover a new #friendship.

I have met truly amazing men and women in my journey, but I have also said #goodbye to most of them.  Nowadays, however, it's easier than ever to stay connected.  With social media, and the internet friendships can go strong long after you both left a posting.

When the children were little, moving did not have an emotional dimension for them.  They were with their parents and the family stayed together at all times.  As they have grown older and had to say their own goodbyes, I was worried how they would express their feelings or how they were going to be affected by them.  

Farewell party organized by the moms of those leaving at the end of the school year.
Fortunately, in today's world, even if their #bestfriend was a block away, they would still communicate virtually, so the problem has revolved more around calculating time differences and vacation schedules.  My youngest often plays video games with his best friend sitting an ocean away; during their game they also video chat, so they not only interact as characters on a game but they see each other and chat while playing.  OK, so it's not the best scenario, they cannot physically play ball together, but it's a second best, don't you think?
I have also made an effort to reconnect with friends as they move.  I stay connected with the mothers of my children's friends.  And every time we are in the same part of the world we meet to catch up and share a meal.  With some of my personal friends I've felt that no matter how long it's been since the last time we saw each other,  the friendship has remained intact.

Lastly, I know people who have flown back after leaving a post, just to let their children see their old friends and spend a vacation in their old city.  EVERYWHERE IS ONLY A FLIGHT AWAY!

The Italian word "Arrivederci" is normally translated as "goodbye", but it literally means: until we see each other again.  How appropriate!

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