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Thread: Does being away from where you grew up get easier with time?

  1. #1
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    Default Does being away from where you grew up get easier with time?

    I've been an expat for over 20 years now. Following finishing my formal education, I only spent 2 1/2 years in my home country, so I've been away from my family and close friends, physically, for the vast majority of my adult life.

    A friend from the second country I lived in (I've lived in four and am not moving again) has just had a bereavement - her own husband. Another friend - one of my original secondary schoolfriends - well, her husband is in hospital after a stroke / brain aneurysm.

    I find it easier to cope with having been away for so long, but does that wanting to just jump on a plane and go and comfort them ever really go away?! Something makes me think it wouldn't. One learns how to cope with the distance. Eventually.

    It's hard...

    Before you make the leap, potential immigrants, please make sure you have the strength of will to do this. It can be rough, very rough. And there's only one group of people who will understand, who will become your own support group - other expats.

    Thanks for reading.

  2. #2
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    Feb 2008
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    ((()))

    Do you think it's the PLACE you've left that you are missing, or the physical presence of PEOPLE dear to you? What you're describing sounds very familiar to me, who am still in my country of birth, but it works the other way round in my case - it's when there's something amiss, or good, with my son or my grandchildren that I've wished the 'beam me up Scotty' thing had been perfected in real life. I want to be with them, to help and hug. I agree, you get used to telling yourself that you can't do it, so there's a measure of acceptance, but there's a whole echoing cave of 'might have beens' which never stops hurting.

  3. #3
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    I don't think the feeling of wanting to jump on the plane straight away will ever go away to be honest. It is only natural you want to be physically there to put your arms around your friend and be there for her.
    I had the same thing happening when my dad became very ill and I felt terrible being so far away and unable to be there for my mum and hold my dad's hand. You do get used to it but it doesn't get any easier over time.
    Take care Adams Girl (())

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by JandM View Post
    ((()))

    Do you think it's the PLACE you've left that you are missing, or the physical presence of PEOPLE dear to you? What you're describing sounds very familiar to me, who am still in my country of birth, but it works the other way round in my case - it's when there's something amiss, or good, with my son or my grandchildren that I've wished the 'beam me up Scotty' thing had been perfected in real life. I want to be with them, to help and hug. I agree, you get used to telling yourself that you can't do it, so there's a measure of acceptance, but there's a whole echoing cave of 'might have beens' which never stops hurting.
    Thanks J&M
    Definitely the people, not the place! The last place I worked in, in England, was Corby in Northamptonshire. Grief, that place was depressing! So yeah, definitely the people...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nienke View Post
    I don't think the feeling of wanting to jump on the plane straight away will ever go away to be honest. It is only natural you want to be physically there to put your arms around your friend and be there for her.
    I had the same thing happening when my dad became very ill and I felt terrible being so far away and unable to be there for my mum and hold my dad's hand. You do get used to it but it doesn't get any easier over time.
    Take care Adams Girl (())
    Thank you, Nienke
    I'm so sorry about your Dad... trying to be part of a support group is very difficult from so far away, eh? Not that you can physically change the situation even if you do hop on a plane, but one does feel even more helpless being so far away.

    *sigh*

  5. #5
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    We have lived away from home country for 20 years, 19 in 1st country and then a few months here. I do not really have. many close friends back in my home country but all of our family and yes, it does still bother me esp at holidays etc. I see fellow expats (having emigrated for the 1st time) and I think they are having a much harder time of it as they have never lived overseas before and are so far away from family.
    My kids have grown up with grandparents on skype and coming overseas. That is their norm. We may lack a quantity of time, but we do have quality time and great memories!
    I have found that everyone that I am friends with are expats which is pretty funny but great cos they understand what you are going through.

    Hang in there.

  6. #6
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    Thanks Hagabel

  7. #7
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    We've been away from the UK for 13 years and moved down south to England from Scotland for 9 years before that. I miss the people but I'm on Facebook with them all the time. It's a terrific way to reintegrate yourself into the slipstream of friends and family's lives. Moving to NZ is to be near my sister who I do miss and who doesn't use FB BTW. Otherwise, I'll still be in touch. I love Scotland dearly but it's not home.

  8. #8
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    I'm not overly keen on the town I grew up in but I do miss the town I went to uni in, and a lot of my friends from uni are still in the immediate area... we're possibly planning a trip back next year in their summer, but I just wish everyone would move here, too!

  9. #9
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    I left the region where I grew up directly after school, just being 18, for tertiary education. Though I still lived in the same country over time I lost my friends one after the other. I made new friends - relocated again into another region. And again lost old friends and made new ones. With several I did stay in contact but people change and develop, most often in different directions.
    Family is different, of course, some how; but also only so far. With whom of our family would we spend time together if they were not family? Do we share the same interests/hobbys? Would we be friends?
    In total I switched regions so often that a relocation here has seemed not to be too different - and still is. I'm glad that my closest family came as tourists staying with us as we have quite a lot in common. And again I made friends here and lost old ones; living here now a bit more than six years.
    BTW most of these new friends are Kiwis who have not lived without overseas, several have; a few friends are immigrants too but none of them is from my own former home country.
    PS: I have not been back and don't have the longing or plans going there soon.

  10. #10
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    Same here, I left when I was 18, to go to uni. I'm actually still in touch - rather, facebook has renewed our contact (friendsreunited.co.uk was still a paying site back then!) - with some of my oldest schoolfriends. Only my cousin, who's over 20 years younger than me, is on fb and I have to say, I'm somewhat relieved about that!

    I know what you mean about going back... it's fast coming up to five years since I last stepped foot in my original homeland and the thought of going back fills me with dread. One of my expat mates in Wellington went back a couple of years ago and couldn't wait to leave. Usual story - loved catching up with everyone, hated being there and felt so hemmed in with all the crowds.

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