Expat life and saying goodbye

Yesterday, I have discovered the single hardest thing about being an expat in a fab place so many people call home, including us. We gain friends, enjoy those friendships and develop deep bonds as the years roll by. We are all expatriates, people in a foreign land who share stories of the ups and downs, laugh at the same jokes and the sadness of exciting expat life.

As much as we love the place and enjoy the company of people whom we start to call family instead of friends, at one point or another, every one leaves.

And no one is spared of the lonely feelings.

Dubai is a temporary place and I felt the pangs of one element of expat life yesterday when a friend of mine left. Just when someone gets close to your heart, you lose them to relocation. Sure there’d be Facebook as we both joked but I am never going to see her smile in person, or touch her when she’s down (and vice versa), hug her when she’s sad or simply poke each other out of fun.

One day, our turn to leave will come. I don’t know if the friends we’ll leave behind will feel the pain but I am sure I will.

I did not send off my friend and her husband at the airport because I have a newborn to take care of and because I thought it would be easier for me. I hate goodbyes. I spoke to her on the phone as I thought it was bearable than saying goodbye in person.

I was wrong – I still suck at goodbyes.

Photo credit

5 thoughts on “Expat life and saying goodbye

  1. SAYING GOOD BYE IS NEVER EASY. UGH AT THE AIRPORT I KNOW. I AM DOING THIS AT THE END OF THE WEEK AGAIN. SIGH. 2 TIME IN A COUPLE OF MONTHS. HUGS 2 U. LOVE THE PICTURES YOU HAVE HAD OF YOUR ADORABLE PRECIOUS KIDS. WILL BEN BE JOINING HIS SISTER MODELING SOON? GAP KIDS?

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  2. I agree with you that having to say goodbye to friends is a very distressing part of expat life. I’ve had to do it over and over again in a number of countries, and only seldom have I ever seen my friends again after that.

    You write “at one point or another, every one leaves.” Yes, and what often happens with serial expats is that they consciously or subconsciously decide not to invest again in truly deep friendships because it is too painful to keep saying goodbye. Now that is sad too, because it can lead to a shallower life style.

    There is no good solution and I know how you feel. Sometimes life just sucks and all you can do is get on with it.

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