Being abroad is beautiful, magical, exciting. It not just allows us the kind of life we want for our family, it gives it to us in bounty. And yet, it isn’t always easy; because there is always one hardship about living abroad.
I’d rather not turn on a water heater and wait 20 minutes to take a hot shower.
I’d rather not have my power go out daily
I’d rather not have said power go out while making coffee, having to plug the coffee maker into another outlet… in the playroom.
I’d rather not have to light the stove with a match.
I’d rather not go to the supermarket to buy spinach to find out they’re out of spinach. Really? No spinach this week? Last week it was no broccoli. Last month it was no mushrooms. It is always something.
But all of those things – the “I’d rather nots“ aren’t “I can’ts.” They are inconveniences, things that now don’t phase me nearly as much as they did when we first got here. I’d actually say that those inconveniences have made me a more person: more patient, more understanding, more down to earth.
But the “I can’t” – the one thing I can’t ever get used to – is being far from my family.
When I was a kid, my mother would drive me to sleepovers. By midnight, she was driving me home. She described me running from the house to her car like the devil was on my heels.
When I was a teenager and my father worked evenings, I would snatch up my pillow and head for my mom’s bed. No sense in either of us sleeping alone.
When I graduated high school, I debated two schools: one in Boston, one in NYC. I went with the one that was closer to home.
When I graduated college and friends talked about their plans of renting a place, I talked about moving back home.
When Then Boyfriend/Now Husband asked me to move in with him, I went home and talked to my mom about it first. Actually I went home to talk to my mom and grandmother since we all lived under the same roof. I was 29 when I moved out.
Being far from family has been the hardest struggle I’ve faced here. I want my kids closer to their cousins. I want my kids to see Tia everyday. I want to see Rafa sitting with Abuelito in his chair or Santiago being held by Abuelita. I don’t want to tell them the cute things Rafa is starting to do, I want them to see it firsthand. I want them to tell me “You know what Santiago did today?”
I’d say that I could get used to just about anything living abroad… except this and it doesn’t (or at least, hasn’t) gotten easier. I wish I could pack my mom and dad and sister and nephews into my 50 pound weight limit suitcase and bring them with me to our current destination, to our next destination.
But I’m working on it.
I’m working on it…