...the saddest time of year for those of us who live abroad.
Since we moved to Asia (almost 11 years ago), we've had our fair share of hellos and goodbyes. It's an occupational hazard of choosing to live life outside of your home country: you're also choosing a life of constant greetings and farewells with family and friends back home, friends in your new home, visitors, co-workers who are only with you for a season. It's a year-round problem, but June definitely marks the highest volumes of goodbyes as the school years winds down and families use the summer months to transition to new homes, jobs, and places of service. When our kids hug their friends goodbye on the last day of school, they are often not just saying goodbye for the summer--they are saying goodbye forever, or at least for the foreseeable future. One of the hardest parts of living overseas is watching my boys grieve over lost friendships again and again. These third-culture kids of ours, they are friendly and adaptable and form friendships fast and deep, and though they've had to farewell dozens of friends over the years, it never gets easier. L will be saying goodbye to his best friend who is moving to another city down the island; A will say goodbye to a few classmates who are moving to other schools or other countries. These sweet boys are already dreading these farewells and the loss of special friendships. We grown-ups have also been saying farewell to co-workers moving to new jobs in far-away countries, to friends moving to other cities or back to their home countries. It's heart-wrenching and we don't get better at it the more we do it. We just bear it.
On the plus side, this is also the time of year we get to visit family and friends in our other homes: the Lone Star State and New Mexico. We are packing up our bags, cleaning out the fridge, gathering fun treats and gifts to share with those we love, and organizing lots of logistics like doctor's appointments and transportation and driver's license renewals in the US. The boys are thrilled about getting to see grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles, and we are, too. We are looking forward to Mexican food, ice cream (though sadly not Bluebell this time!), driving through wide open farmland, 4th of July fireworks, and lots of hugs from people close to our hearts but far from are address.
|The last time we landed in the US, back in December of 2012. Little guy had been a US citizen all of 5 minutes when this photo was taken.|
It's funny, this transitory life we lead: always saying goodbye to one home and hello to another, happy wherever we are but always missing other places and people, bits of our hearts scattered everywhere dear friends have landed. We love Taiwan; we love Texas; but we are never truly, 100% at home in either, or anywhere else. Our hearts are divided between amazing places with amazing people and always will be. And that's okay. It's a gift to have lived in and deeply loved two places so much, so fully, even though it means we'll always be missing what we don't have a little bit.