In the transience that is the expat life, hellos and goodbyes are as commonplace as breathing. Unlike breathing, it’s something I’ve yet to become accustomed.
Over the last few weeks, at work, we have had a slew of new arrivals and for the first time I’m beginning to distinguish between an Egyptian, a Jordanian and a Khaliji speaking. It’s like a Trini, a Bajan and Jamaican speaking English – same language – different accents. I may yet learn Arabic…
But in the midst of all these new possibilities, there’s the letting go. I’ve already said good-bye to a friend and colleague who has returned to the cloudy climes of Blighty. In a few weeks it’s farewell to Austrian friends and with them their son who is a great playmates of my son. With every mention of imminent arrivals, there are as many hints of so-longs to come.
At a birthday party on Friday, one of the dads said to me that here you are renting/borrowing a life because eventually you will go back ‘home’. Why not go ‘home’ and own a life with all the pleasures and pains that accompany it? He went on to explain that he wanted roots for his children and as such was contemplating the move ‘home’
Some of our roots in the UK were starting to feel like chains – some self-imposed, others more menacing made me feel trapped. Being here has been about new experiences – testing our resilience. We’ve had to rely on our roots to take flight.
As often is the case, the journey is unique to each one of us and sometimes it’s one and sometimes it’s another and more usually it is a combination of 2 or all 3 in varying measure.
Chains, roots and wings – where are you in your journey?