I confess, my roller-coaster emotions of late have little to do with my struggles to find a new use for my almond pulp as suggested in my previous post…
No, they have more to do with the fact that it’s that unique season every ex-pat recognizes, usually at the end of May and early June, known as “leaving season.” (Ok, so maybe that’s not actually a sanctioned term… maybe I made that up just now… but whatever, it fits.)
Some seasons pass me by without so much as a wink. This one sank its teeth into me like a wolf, and isn’t through shaking me yet. In the past 5 weeks, I’ve said goodbye to 4 dear friends. These ladies are most than just bus-stop acquaintances. Nope, these are women I’ve sweated with in bootcamp… Women I’ve cooked a meal with, and shared more than one glass of champagne. Women who have both made me laugh until I cry… and dried my tears. Women I can call to take care of my kids… and my heart. These are friends who care enough to be honest with me… even when the truth hurts. And I love them for it.
What might begin as a chance meeting in the grocery store looking for the dang tahini (which doesn’t actually exist in that store!) can lead to a sweet friendship that shares everything from clothes to advice on raising teens to helping each other through health crises & personal crises. Here in the ex-pat world, where we live so far away from our blood family, friends become our family, our sisters away from home, our kin.
So when we say goodbye, it hurts.
I’ve thought about just not investing anymore… holding myself aloof to the possibility of anymore great friendships, knowing the day will come when that container truck will arrive and I’ll wander through my friend’s increasingly empty house with her, looking for last-minute items and listening to the all-too-familiar sound of ripping packing tape, feeling the hole in my heart grow as well.
But no, we don’t get to decide who we’re drawn to. It just happens. I can’t close myself off… I wouldn’t honestly know what that looks like. To do that would just be going through the motions of life without really living it. And that’s not the kind of life I want to live.
So what do we do? We keep living… we keep investing… we keep reaching out… we keep in touch… whether we’re ex-pats or just at home. This world is a much smaller place than we think it is, and likely as not, every leaving will become another chance to reunite. That’s the hope I live with.