Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The downside of expat life.....

Being an expat is AWESOME and has so many advantages.....well, most of the time.
You get to experience new places, new people, new food, new culture.
You really do become a "bigger", more open person because becoming an expat requires you to step out of your own comfortable world and enter someone else's.  As an expat you find out how flexible and adaptive and patient you really are. And you get to make the world your "home" rather than a certain address in a certain zip code... So you see, it really is great.

That is, until some type of tragedy enters your world.
Sometimes those tragedies happen TO you, the expat, and you YEARN to have your family there with you.
Sometimes those tragedies happen within your family, and you YEARN to be there with them as they go through whatever it is.
But realistically, there are times that those yearnings just cannot be met with the quick click of a "purchase" button on Expedia.com.

Sometimes they cannot get to you when you need them.
And sometimes you cannot get to them either.

And it is in those times, those crises, that you begin to wonder if all the wonderful advantages of expat life are really worth it.  And it is not until you survive the crisis or come through the tragedy that you can once again appreciate what being an expat has ADDED to your life.

And this is where I am. Right now.....
....n the middle of a family emergency, frantically searching for airfare that won't deplete my bank account; feeling guilty that I am not already there with them; trying to send as much love and support as is possible in an electronic format; and second guessing my choice to live in another country.


I know that I will look back on this in days, weeks, months, and realize that none of us can be there with our families every time they need us; whether we live across the globe or across the street. But right now, as my dad lies in a hospital room in north Texas, all I can focus on is getting there.

Even in the midst of this family emergency, another advantage to being an expat has revealed itself to me...... My support and prayer network is now world-wide. Besides the big ol' US of A, I have friends all over Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Holland, Germany, France, and Australia sending prayers and positive energy to our family. And for that, I am truly thankful.

14 comments:

Angel said...

I know one day I will be in the exact same position. I dread that day and hope it never comes but it does for us all at some point. Sending you all the love and strength I got! xoxo

mommy22ss said...

You Kelli, reading this made me think of a military life as well. I've had a couple of these family emergencies myself while living far away unable to get "back home". I'm so glad that you seem to have a wonderful support system. You and your family have been in my prayers and will continue to be. (((((HUGS)))))

May said...

I have been there and it is so hard. I'll be thinking of you and your family, and you know where to find us if there's anything we can do for you.

Annemette Kuhlmann said...

Kelli, I've been through it too and it's hard. It's so hard to be "left", unable to do what you feel you need to do and to be with the people you love and for some reason everything grows way out of proportion too, feelings, fears, worries, desperation etc.

I wish I could help!
My thoughts and well wishes for you and your family.
....and may that affordable plane ticket find you!

All the best and let me know if there's anything I can do from Houston;o)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for highlighting this poignant issues about family in the life of expats.Yes,it is a time to be with your family,fingers crossed for your safe jounrey.Being an permanent expat is NOT awesome if 99% of your loved ones and family is on the other side of this world.We moved countries to follow and be with my family,instead of having my family somewhere else and because there was only so much time left.What is important is that you live near those you need to be with in the event of an emergency,especially as the years go by and people get old.Many expats return home when their parents need them,this is a typical family way.I moved back and I got to spend the last years of my fathers life with him and for which I am for evergrateful, it was the last years that counted.I paused my life for him.God willing,your father will recover and you will get the same chance too.Good luck and God Bless and best of luck to you in your return home to the loving bosom of your family.If you have trouble finding the funds then everybody could club together and help.Otherwise it's worth borrowing or selling somethig,this time is now.Nothing matters more than this time.Best if wishes to you for you to have the time with your father.

Jon said...

You may not know all of us, but we are out here sending our positive thoughts your way.

ladyfi said...

This is the hardest part about living abroad. My thoughts go with you. Hugs!

Robbi said...

Thinking of you and your family Kelli, and sending prayers and positive energy. Klem

wildsleep said...

I've been through it as well, and I feel for you. Sending positive vibes your way. Keep searching & I hope that you can find something affordable.

ViViYaYa said...

Kelli,

May your father be surrounded with the white light of healing and be spiritually blessed during this time. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Corinne said...

I too fear the day something goes wrong and I am unable to get home. I hope you are able to get to the US and be with your family as soon as possible. I'm crossing my fingers for you, and thinking of you.

Kirstin said...

That really is THE expat nightmare, isn't it?
Much love and prayers for you and your family from Vestlandet <3

Fuzzy said...

Best of luck. Grab a plane and sort out the worries when you get back. You'll be so relieved that you did! (Take it from me, I am so thankful I got on the first plane when I did to be with my mom in her remaining days.)

American in Norway said...

All of us who are Expats KNOW what you are going through... my heart breaks for you.. because I know this is the worst fear of being overseas...
Sending prayers to you & your family Kell!
xxx