Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Top Ten Challenges Of Being An Expat In Bangkok #10

Nobody stays here... nobody... well almost nobody. 

We live in a beautiful, amazing expat neighborhood and our kids attend outstanding international schools. 

That's an amazing thing. A wonderful experience. But this is what it means. 

NOBODY. EVER. STAYS. 

I grew up an army brat so I DEFINITELY get moving and goodbyes but I'm gonna say this is a different level. When I was an army brat everyone was on rotations that were typically 3 yrs. When you met someone you all immediately put out there when you were leaving so you knew how long you had together. Growing up a military kid I was more than happy to quit moving when the time came. Army life wasn't always easy though it offered many rewards. 

I think here is even harder in this particular way. 

Life here is a series of hellos and goodbyes. 

Bangkok is FULL of expats. There are military and embassy here but there are MANY private companies as well. Most of the people from private companies have very little to no clue how long they'll be here or where they'll get sent next. 

They might be here 6 months. They might be here 6 years. They don't know. You don't know. 

Every 6 months in summer and at Christmas there's a massive movement of people leaving and arriving. 

You welcome the new ones and wonder how long you'll get to be friends. 

You say goodbye to people you just started to bond with and wonder if and when you'll ever see them again. 

Two of my closest friends here are scheduled to leave this summer. 

This week one of my kids had some friends over and it hit me that the majority of the group was leaving this summer. 

One of mine has a favorite teacher leaving and maybe the second favorite as well. 

Let's not talk about how many friends we've already had leave. 

It's February. As May approaches we will find out more and more about who is leaving. 

When those of us who don't get moved come back from our various world travels in August for school to start there will be a group of new arrivals flooding in. Most of them will be overwhelmed, nervous, homesick and stressed just like we were when we showed up here glassy eyed and lost. So the veteran moms will all pitch in and do whatever we can to help them feel safe and happy here the way someone helped us. 

We know how it feels to be new. So we will invite them and support them. We will bond with them over expat life in Asia and assure them they'll be fine and happy just like we are now. 

Then we will probably have to leave them. 

Ugh. 

Suddenly today I had this wave of homesickness hit me and I couldn't place why at first. I have been doing way better on that front lately. Then suddenly I realized what my brain was doing. I just wanted my normal. I wanted to escape all the goodbyes looming ahead. 

I mean sure people always move and things always change but this is rapid pace emotional upheaval every 6 months. 

I can say that it is well worth the sadness to meet people who have lived in and seen the entire world. It's a remarkable blessing to stretch and grow and know people from every corner of this Earth. It's a marvelous lesson to learn to love someone even though you may only have a little while. I know that these experiences and relationships change the fabric of who we are in a wonderful way. 

I'm so grateful for what we are all experiencing even though it means a constant goodbye. 

No comments: