Posts Tagged expat life
I sit outside with my toes in the grass. The sun struggles through the layers of smog and by the time it lands on my cheek, it is but a weak cousin of the African sun that I am used to. I don’t like the air here, it presses down on me, leaves me wondering if we are encapsulated in a dome like goldfish in a bowl.
The wind sighs and carries the nose-tingling odor of burning sewage into our garden. We may live in our manufactured expat fishbowl, but the wind will not stop and deposit its luggage at the gate; it will not be denied entry.
An insect sits on the chair next to me. “Hello Chinese bug,” I greet it quite cordially.
It doesn’t reply.
Expat life has many advantages and just as many disadvantages. For me, the biggest drawback by far is having to say goodbye to friends when they move off to beckoning shores. Some of these friends I will see again, some I probably won’t. Not because of a lack of will, but because of logistics, and that makes me very sad.
Yes, I know that Facebook, blogs, email etc makes it easy to stay in contact. I also know that new people will arrive in my life, some will stick and others won’t, but it is not the same and right now I just feel like sulking because another friend left yesterday. OK?
I have been blessed to make the kind of friend who offered to clean a Chinese toilet for me (I’ve got a thing about germs) so I can go do my business; gave advice when I didn’t know how to handle the kids; another held me back when I wanted to throttle my husband and all of them gave hugs and provided shoulders when life squeezed too hard.
We have celebrated birthdays and anniversaries, new babies and new grandchildren, mourned divorces and break-ups, laughed and cried, shouted and ranted and vowed revenge on anyone that hurt one of us; sometimes quietly, sometimes loudly. We have caused raised eyebrows at our favourite hangout and upset the neighbours more than once, and I wouldn’t change one moment of it.
These fabulous women range in age from 20-something to 60-something and are now spread out from Australia to America and everywhere in between. Each one of them has contributed to my life in ways that they will probably never realise.
So … I would like to raise my glass to Friendship and wish that every woman has at least one friend who will hold her hair back when she loses that last mojito.