Making Memories When Moving On

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”- Winnie the Pooh

Goodbyes are often one of the most painful or dreaded things about moving to a different country. Leaving behind memories- both beautiful and ugly. 

Saying farewell to beloved family members, friends, places and possessions is known as “creating closure,” but you may not be excited about it at all. I loved living in Beijing, and moving to Brunei- in every aspect the opposite of vibrant China- did not sound like the exciting new adventure I had hoped for.

Leaving brought tears to my eyes when we left Beijing, having to say goodbye these special people that had shared some of the most memorable moments of my life, the cozy apartment, the fabulous food. In some ways, it was harder to leave China than to leave The Netherlands. I knew I would always come back to the Netherlands, but going back to China would never be the same.

Maybe you feel more like quietly escaping to the airport than like having a farewell do. But you may want to reconsider that, as having a clear farewell moment may make it easier to leave.

Creating Memories

Stepping away from the “this is painful” perspective into the “share love” perspective can be a powerful way to making your last days count. Goodbyes present an excellent opportunity to create more nice memories with loved ones, for example by:

  • Dancing the Night away at your favorite bar one more time
  • Eating all your favorite dishes with your favorite friends at your favorite restaurant
  • Taking a walk in your favorite neighborhood, attraction or park followed by brunch with your besties
  • Visiting that one must see that you never got around to, or doing a city tour in an usual mode of transport (like a sidecar, a trolley bus or a helicopter)
  • Having a goodbye weekend with friends

You can also make a Memory Jar together with your family.

5 Pictures That You’ll Want to Include in Your Photo Album

You probably have thousands of pictures from your expat antics, but have you also captured the daily grind of your life? Moving away is the moment to do just that.

Don’t forget to take pictures (and perhaps a few videos) of the following people and places:

  • The inside and outside of your home and surroundings (garden, compound, school, office, local supermarket). These are the things that stay in your mind when you think back of those days, and that you do not always have pictures of.
  • Your family members at their typical spot in the house, your hubby at the computer, your kids in their beds, yourself with your morning coffee.
  • The day to day people- the security guy of your apartment complex, the barista at the local coffee corner, the flower lady or your office cleaner, the friendly people who always greeted you with a smile. Snap a picture of the children together with their teacher or nanny.
  • Your favorite dishes.
  • Your favorite plant or tree    

And of course, do not forget to take pictures of the moving boxes, you’ll never believe how many there were afterwards.



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