Monday, 3 March 2014

expat life: a trail of friends

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Sometimes I wonder if being an expat is all worth it. Everything in life comes at a price right. 

As one little adventure comes to end, I am getting ready to return home to England and pick up another expat adventure in another country. The experiences I have had have made my time in Cyprus totally worthwhile but enough is enough. I have lived on in this country, on my own, for nearly a whole year and I don't have the strength to do it anymore. Sure I have some amazing friends here. The people I have met have become life long friends. But that's exactly where this post is coming from. 

Friends. How do they put up with us expats huh? All this coming and going. Saving for new adventures abroad. Uncertain locations and indefinite periods of time. Expat life is a little complex.

And the problem is my heart is kind of split in two; whilst I cannot contain my excitement at being reunited with some of my favourite girls in London town, I am leaving behind two very special ladies who have made my life in Cyprus a million times better, easier and funnier than it could have been. They have kept me sane especially over the past year and while they joke that I wont miss them and my departure signals the end of our friendship, in reality it is quite the opposite. 

I remember when we left London. I thought it would be easy. But it wasn't. You quickly realise the importance of those little coffee dates, catch ups and regular dinners, all starting at the standard Picadilly Circus tube station meeting spot. And somehow, I have managed to maintain most of my friendships back home, which make me even more excited to swap whatsapp and skype dates with real life, in the flesh interaction. Because I clung on for those friendships because I believe a little effort goes a long way and fingers crossed they will let me walk back into their lives like I never walked out. There isn't anything a large mojito and several hours of talking can't fix.

Many people really didn't understand why we were leaving London for Cyprus. And I guess to be honest we didn't either. But we knew there was more to life than London and at that point London was not the place for us. While Cyprus may have been an obscure choice, I think it brought us a lifestyle, a slower pace and a change of scenery we both needed. I haven't ruled out London from my life completely; the boyfriend is rather adamant we will never return but who knows where in the world will end up. Really, if living abroad has taught me one thing it is that your life doesnt have to be confined to where you were born and raised. If you dont want it to be. I mean not everyone has to take the same journey right.

One thing that I always found tough, is sharing plans. When you share your plans with someone, you are letting them into the inner workings of your brain. If they are your friends you will be sharing said plans because your either seeking support, reassurance or in the essence of friendship, just need to share all the thoughts and plans whirling around your brain. But it seems quite common that friends who you want reassurance from, question your motives. I am not going to lie, coming up against criticism concerning your life choices can definitely break you down a little. It can make you question yourself and we all know that is dangerous territory.

But at the end of the day, you are in this for you. Your journey is just that, yours. True, friends are a very important part of life, but so are experiences. And as such you have to make the decisions in life that are going to bring you happiness and offer the best results for you. If your friends are really friends, they will support you, maintain contact and savour you that much more when you return to them.

Shortly (I say shortly but departure is still more than a month away) I will swap Cyprus for London, I am feeling the same unease, anxiety and emotion as before because I am leaving behind more friends. Part of me feels bad leaving this little trail of fantastic friends around Europe. But you have to do what you have to do right. You cant stay because you dont want to leave the people you love when all the time the one person you love is far away. You cant stay because someone thinks it's a bad idea. You cant do stay to keep people happy. And you cant stay because you will always wonder what could have been. In pursuit of happiness it seems you have to be a little selfish.

Ganted it would be a lot easier if you could pick up all the people and take them with me. But if the past three years living in Cyprus have taught me anything, it's that i'm pretty good at holding down long distance friendships.

2 comments:

  1. love this honest post! sounds like you've figured it out pretty well, although i believe you that it's not easy! adventures are worth it though so cheers to that! xo

    the well-traveled wife ♥

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. sometimes you have to be honest right emi!
      and I totally agree with you that adventures are worth. I am getting ready for a new one and while I am sad to say goodbye to friends I have made here in Cyprus, I am so ready for something new.

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