“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” -Miriam Adeney.
Almost three years ago when I was adjusting to life in Stockholm, I wrote about moving, getting settled, and making connections. This 6th international move was a new stage in life because it was the first move without the children at home. I had my husband, my work, and my dog, yet I felt rudderless without the kids. Usually my kids and a new school community provided and easy entrée to meeting folks. Without that, I had trouble finding my spot. Despite the rough start, things started to click and I wrote an essay about all the things that trailing spouses do to facilitate and nurture connections wherever we land and how I was included me in the fold or Stockholm life.
Now it is nearly time to say goodbye to Sweden and it all comes full circle back to connections and how the people I met made my rough transition to Sweden one I will treasure. I will hold the people I have met close to my heart, even as I leave, just as I have taken and held in my heart the many others I have met over the years. Even if someone comes into your life for just a short time, they can make a huge impact. It has made me really reflect on what it means to connect meaningfully, how to listen, and sometimes even when to let go.
As we all know, the thing about goodbyes is that they are hard. Hellos are hard and awkward and sometimes a bit scary. But goodbyes are really really, rip your heart out difficult. And this time of year the goodbyes are inescapable as they play themselves out publicly -on the school playground, at the airport, at farewell parties. Love. Friendship. Sisterhood. Shared struggles. Laughing until your sides hurt. Late night games, deep conversations, making small talk. Watching your kids grow up together. Watching sunsets. Tears and smiles. Bottles of wine, tequila, champagne. Learning new things about yourself and your loved ones. Digging deep in order to rebuild again and maintain old connections while forming new ones. The circle of the expat life – not always easy, but always worth it.