Although I no longer think of myself as an expat, I am surrounded by them; surrounded by them on a daily basis, both at work and in my social life. You see, I work at an International school and this week is our final week of the school year. It is a crazy, busy and emotional week, full of goodbyes. As another school year comes to an end, it once again means having to say goodbye to students, parents, and staff; many of whom have become good friends.
In international schools, you are surrounded by what I like to call ‘stayers’ and ‘drifters’. My kids and I are stayers at our school. I married a Dutch man and we moved to the Nethelands long term. Sometimes it is tough being at a school with such a high student/teacher turnover. I am grateful for all of the other stayers, as they are a welcomed consistency in both my life and more importantly, the lives of my children. But, as with all international schools, there are many families who must move on after just a year, or maybe three if we are lucky. That’s the painful part of expat life, both for expats themselves and for those around them. We build up such wonderful friendships and then enivitable have to part ways. However, I must admit, that I feel honoured and awfully lucky to have had the opportunity to meet these wonderful people from all over the world! They have enriched our lives, by showing us their cultures and traditions, and for well, just letting us get to know them.
I read an interesting article on this topic last year, called “The transition that never ends: The ongoing cycle of expat Stayers, Goers and Newbies”, which explains each type of person and why it is so important that we all continue to interact with and help each other. We each have something unique to give. Are you a Stayer, a Goer or a Newby?
So as I walk into work tomorrow, for the final day of classes, I will remind myself not to get bitter about all of the goodbyes, but to be grateful for those that have come in (and out of) our lives. The world is smaller thanks to technology and we will stay in touch; they have all left their footprints on our hearts. After all, as they say, ‘friends come and go like the waves of the ocean, but the true ones stick like an octopus on your face’.
So I am thankful for all the friendships, and thankful for all the smiles, and thankful that they came into our lives, if only for a while. Stay in touch my friends! Xx