The thought occurred to me today – will be friendships at home be the same as before I left and what of the friendships I have made at post? Looking back over the past few years , I can count on pretty much one hand the number of friends who have kept in touch from home. This is normal, and I hold no resentment, life happens. We may think of each other often and not make contact or or we may not even be a thought to the other. No big deal.
Social media and technology has made keeping in touch so convienient due to convenience of time, cost and ease – but only if you wish to. I’ll admit that I often think about colleagues, friends and family back home and have every intention to send that text, or message on Facebook or video call via Hangouts and that’s where it ends. With good intentions. Good friends don’t take this personally (most likely because it’s a mutual thing) and reconnecting is so seamless and wonderful.
Life saddest and most happy moments force communication and many friends have included my in their grief, celebrations and successes for which I am grateful. These friends have been with me for varied lengths of time on my life journey and often hold the key to many memories and milestones of my own. A shared history if you will. So what if these friendships become unexpected victims of my time abroad and cannot withstand the test of time?
Expat friends who have returned home are another consideration. Many of these people can relate to the peculiarities of another culture, the joys and frustrations. They hold the memories of my time abroad. These friendships are sometimes so intense due to the difficulties we experience and the supportive nature of trailing spouse frienships. Shared experiences that are unique to our time at post. How do these relationships withstand the transition to a regular life?
With our impending repatriation, I’m beginning to wonder will many of these friendships stand the test of absence and continue when I return. I’ve changed I know that and I shoudl expect that friends and family have too. Let’s just wait and take things as they come..