Saturday, June 4, 2011

It's goodbye time overseas...



10 years and a week ago, I got on an airplane and left my home in Papua.

It never fails. This time of year I start seeing the status updates from my friends around the world start to look like this:
- This time of year EVERY year takes it's toll on one's psyche.
- Yup. And it never gets any easier...
- If the vacation is as good as the gut wrenching, emotional good bye saying is here in Papua, then my family will be good.
- How come no one told me leaving Papua would be so hard?
- I don't remember you asking, it will be incredibly hard, you will cry like a baby and your heart will be heavy and that weight will extend to your arms and when you want to curl up in the fetal position and cry....
- We could've tried to tell you but you wouldn't really can't know until you actually have to do it yourself. Definitely sucks. My heart hurts vicariously.
And guess what? All of that is from adults. Not angsty teenagers.

It's goodbye time at international schools and communities. When you live between cultures, graduation means leaving your country, your home, and potentially not returning. It means families will be going back "home" for good. The community changes at the beginning of June every single year.

I wrote about it two years ago when a class I knew well graduated from my high school and I watched their journey with great emotion, and my own sister graduated and came back to the US. I wrote about it here. And then, because I was so emotional about it all, I wrote about when I said my own goodbyes here. There's not a lot to add to those two!



And now. here I am again, watching from afar. One sister graduating, my family moving "home" to the US. They're saying their goodbyes. My sister Joy is back visiting and just soaking it up. She loves it. It's home. It's beautiful. I connect with everything she's saying - I felt and feel the same way about Papua. I will say that 10 years later, the miracle is that while I feel much more at peace and content over it all, I do still love that place and love those people, and the relationships are still there.



It's been 10 years. I've just packed and unpacked my old journals in this apartment move, so I just reread my journals from those last weeks in Papua. They are packed with emotion and detail every moment. Unfortunately, none of it is bloggable because it's so wrapped up in the people and relationships at that point.

3 comments:

matchingmoonheads said...

wow, that means its been 9 years since I left Belgium huh. crazy! did you get to go back though, ever? I think you did. My family moved right when I graduated so I never got to go back. one day...

matchingmoonheads said...

i guess i will add that i don't know if it ever felt like home home, since i only went to high school there. but i guess as much like home as any other place.

Kacie said...

I did get to go back four years ago. I took my husband to see it and it was wonderful. Different, but thrilling that it did feel like home. Tough to leave again. I do think my community there was a bit unusual and so it actually did take on the identity of my home. That’s rare for third-culture-kids I think.