Sunday, 7 July 2013

Too far away from home

When David and I were making our decision to move to Hong Kong, one of the factors that affected our final choice was that both our parents are fit and healthy, and we believed that we should have a good window to be out of the country before we may be needed back home in the UK.  Having said that my mother had pointed out before I left that although I would be very good at arranging the logistics, financials and practicalities of care - I would perhaps be lacking in the cuddly, fluffy, compassionate element of it!  She feels that my brothers may be better qualified to provide empathy, patience and benevolence than me - and I can't really argue with that particularly when I see how they are with their children.

During our relocation, it had frequently crossed my mind that at some point we would receive a bad news call, and that would be the moment when the reality of our distance from home would strike.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, I had always felt that that call would be related to our parents, as they are the oldest generation alive in both David and my family.  At the same time, I didn't anticipate receiving this type of call for a good long while after arriving here, once we were established and truly settled in.

Therefore we were staggered and shaken to receive a bad news call this week about a very close friend.   Suddenly the distance that superficially diminishes due to FaceTime, Skype and Facebook - opened up like an infinite chasm.  David and I felt utterly cast adrift from where we want to be, supporting our friend and her husband, face to face, back home.  All at once the reality of being an expat loses its shine, and the implications of our decision to move 6,000 miles away from friends and family seems selfish and reckless.

I can only hope that despite the distance we are able to prop up our friend and her husband remotely and technology will help to close the gap that physically separates us.  While, in the words of my mother, I'm useless at the fluffy, caring, compassionate stuff - I am hoping that humour and wit will suffice.  Above all we are going to stay positive that our lovely friend will fight hard - and if anyone can fight hard, she can - to reach her goal of visiting us in Hong Kong in November.

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