Sunday, 23 March 2014

Have you kept your friends back home ?

" It's when you go away that you see who cares about you". 

A young girl I know, who recently moved from France to the USA posted this on Facebook and it caught my attention.

When I decided to leave France nearly 12 years ago, my biggest worry was that I might loose my friends. I was afraid they would forget about me and get on with their life  without me. In fact I was afraid to be left out. But the truth is, I was going to be left out, because I was moving to another country. It was inevitable. Everything they would experience was going to happen without me. 
Back in the days (I feel so old saying that!), there was no Facebook, so it was harder than now to stay connected. We only had phones and e-mail (Yes, I'm not that old) so we were not giving each other news every day.  But every time I went back home, I tried to see them all, even if my parents were  fed up about me borrowing the car all the time!

It's when you go away that you see who cares about you, but I will add : When you go away, you have to work hard at keeping you friends because friendship is not a one-way street. You can't expect your friends to ask how you're getting on and not do the same in return. When you move abroad, you're experiencing a lot of new things in a short period of time. It's overwhelming, it's exciting, you want to share it with your friends back home. The danger is that it can create a gap wider and wider between you and them. You can feel you've changed and that they haven't moved on. I'm sure I bored my friends to death  the first couple of years with exciting (only to me) stories about Ireland.

I'm proud to say I kept my friends. I worked hard at it. I did my best to be there for the important stuff like weddings or christenings. Unfortunately, I had to accept the fact that I couldn't be present for everything. Of course I missed birthdays and parties, and on a sad note, I also missed funerals. I wish I was there when my friends needed support and I wish they were with me when I was down, but it was not always possible and I had to accept it.

I feel lucky to have kept my friends and I believe we are  still close because deep down, we haven't changed. We care about each other a lot and it doesn't matter if we are thousand of miles apart. We don't talk very often, but when we see each other, it feels like I never left. 

Expats, have you kept your friends back home since you moved abroad ? Do you find it hard to keep a long-distance friendship ? 

Expat Life with a Double Buggy