One of the challenges of living overseas is not being able to be a part of my family and friend’s everyday lives. When I am not in the United States, typical patterns of life still go on for everyone else. People get married, they divorce, babies are born, people die, they graduate from school, get new jobs, lose their job, move away and everything else that happens in between. Of course I do usually hear about major life events but often it ends up being later or through third parties. And while I was in PNG and I did know about an upcoming event, it was hard to celebrate or grieve properly being away and isolated from those I should have been celebrating or grieving with. Sometimes I missed things completely. Of course this same thing can happen when you live in different states or even different cities but it’s much easier to hop on a plane, get in a car or make a phone call from the US.
Since I arrived back in California at the end of January, I have tried to take advantage of being here and being able to visit with family and friends. Despite all the traveling and coming and going, I have done my best to be around for big events and partake in just the little everyday life things as well. An hour drive to see a friend or cousin doesn’t seem so long now. Or taking a week vacation with my immediate family, which would be a lot more of a challenge to organize and pull off if I wasn’t in the US. Taking the time to do these things is very worth it. Of course these events have also included the memorial for my cousin Megan as well as the upcoming memorial service for my grandpa. But I am thankful that I don’t have to be away from family during these times. Attending weddings, meeting new family members, looking forward to the holidays and just enjoying family meals, are all perks of being in the US right now.
I still miss being overseas but I am so thankful for the special time I have now with family and friends. I also keep reminding myself that I also have an extra gift of flexibility and time. If I was living in the US and had a typical 9 to 5 job, I wouldn’t be able to spend as much time with people as I do now. This won’t continue forever so I need to be thankful, take the good with the bad and just enjoy it while I can.