One promise we made to our daughter when we had to tell her that we would have moved to the other side of the world, was that we would have come back to visit her friends.
That was move number three for our daughter. For the first time, she could spend more than one year in the same school, and after four years she was going to farewell more than what can be called friends or community: she was going to say goodbye to her extended family.
Because when you are abroad, friends become family.
Friends are there to support you when you don’t have family support. From school pickups to the shoulder to cry on when feeling nostalgic or coping with a hard life moment. From sitting at the same table to share a meal on weekends to cheer up at sports events. From helping up when you have to pack up the house again to celebrate birthdays together.
Fríends are there with a bucket full of wisdom or advice to help you get through the flu, hair lice, which painter choose to redecorate the walls, where to buy gluten-free food staples, or how to navigate the burden of having to organise the care of aged parents back home.
For my daughter, friends at school are the cousins and the pals with which she grows up. She learns how to be sociable, and suffer her first jalousie or misunderstandings. She understands the value of having people to rely on.
We are fortunate enough that when we visit home we can hop on a low-cost flight and go visit our extended family for a weekend.
It is a privilege to be able to honour the value of those relationships that meant so much during our stay in a given country.
And magically you pick up the conversation with those friends exactly where you left it when you had to leave.
Even if busy life elsewhere hasn’t given us the opportunity to stay up to date with them about every life event that happened meanwhile. You just build upon it. And share more life moments, create memories, tell them what you have been through, which event taught you more.
My kids and I can’t wait to reconnect with those threads of warm woolly friendship.
And when I hug them again, tears of joy run over our cheeks, and I feel grateful to have them in my life.