There are some real advantages to living abroad and particularly being here in Haiti– after all it is a Caribbean island! But there are also times when I wish I could just be at home, to be there for my friends and family.
Today has been one of those days.
It is hard enough missing out on the fun parts of life back home, I missed the wedding of a really good friend of mine over the weekend, and my Dad’s 60th birthday last month. It is a real struggle when you have to time post to arrive on time several weeks or months before, or have to hope for a good Skype or phone connection to get a message through.
But then it is even harder when things go wrong at home, when a friend or a family member suffers and I can’t be there. I can’t send a hug over the internet. I can’t be there with a cup of tea and a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on. The time difference often means I can’t speak to people at home mid-week, and unreliable internet connections mean sometimes I can’t get through. Those are the times when I want to be home.
I remember on my gap year sobbing after a phone call home on my birthday with a delay of several seconds ended abruptly when the connection failed, and I could no longer hear the voices of the loved ones I had been longing to speak to.
Sometimes I still feel like that.
I want to be home. To give that hug. To have those conversations face-to-face. To be there.
These are the times when living abroad really feels like a sacrifice. The sacrifice is not in eating beans and rice day in day out, nor chasing the cockroaches out of the (cold) shower, or even facing violent protests on the commute home. The sacrifice is leaving friends and family back home, and missing out on the significant events in their lives.
So, to you my friends and family; know you are loved, you are missed terribly and I wish I was there at home with you.