This weekend, my good friend whom I have known for over ten years is getting married. The husband and I will not be there. It is the fourth wedding we have missed since moving to the island.
In addition, in the not too distant future, my bestest bud is going to have her first baby. Again, the husband and I will not be there. Living on the island, having the absolute time of your life, and feeling grateful every day for the opportunities presented to you, you still cannot help grieving the loss of those moments that you would have lived had your life in Oz continued.
In moving overseas, one has to weigh up the pros and cons of leaving behind one’s previous life. For the husband and I, the benefits of making the move to EG and having the opportunity to experience this alternative lifestyle, jam-packed full of travel, trumped the continuation of our prior suburban existence. And I am so thankful that our families and close friends have remained connected with us despite the barrier of oceans. It is so easy for people to relinquish contact in cases such as this veiled by the catchphrase “out of sight, out of mind.”
Living this lifestyle is of course a trade-off. In order to get the goods sometimes you have to give away something else. Or at the very least, transform it into something different.
It is not only relationships which are potentially compromised by an overseas move. Your entire lifestyle as you know it must alter in a myriad of ways. Some of the material things we have had to give up in order to be here include:
- the freedom to go out for dinner, or leave the neighbourhood, spontaneously
- the ability to cook anything we could possibly want without missing half the ingredients because they aren’t attainable
- the convenience of buying new undies (or shoes) whenever needed
- access to services such as dentists, physios or optometrists
- fresh cream
- mayonniase that doesn’t contain soybean oil
- my preferred choice of tampons
- an unlimited supply of Vegemite
And so on…
Of course, we work around these trifles and adapt to the differences in lifestyle, like all other expats. For us, the normal MO whenever we take our breaks off the island, is to rush around whatever Western city we find ourselves in, getting haircuts (often in non-English speaking countries) locating shopping centres and in my case on at least one occasion, sitting in medical centres trying to get a prescription for the pill. The inconvenience is truly a first world problem – until we are without these comforts, we take them for granted.
The list of material absences can be easily matched by another list of absences:
- watching your friend’s belly grow over 9 months and throwing her a baby shower
- going to your mum’s for a weekend, drinking too much wine and eating too much food
- walking along the sand on the best beaches in the world (Queensland’s beaches are the best in the world. Hands down. Don’t even try to argue)
- witnessing the weddings of the friends that matter the most to you
Some may read this post and interpret it as homesickness or an indication that our life on the island is somehow unfulfilling or undesirable. That is not the case. Moving to the island was the best decision we have ever made and I wouldn’t take it back in a million years. I hope we can be here for a long time yet.
It’s just sometimes, you do miss your family and friends.