Summer is well and truly over here in Brunei. The kids have gone back to school, and I’m back to work. Working not just in between family visits and trips to the playground I mean.
Back to expat reality, including that one aspect I dread- the continuous moving of friends. The summer is always the time for the expat karavaan to move to other locations, but when I was in China it seemed less obvious. Perhaps because most of my Beijing friends did not have school age kids, they were not tied to the end of the school year for their moves.
But it is not just that. In Brunei, the moves are visible.
Empty houses on the way to school are noticeable reminders of the friends who left. Of parties, play dates, good times and heart-to-hearts over coffee. They remind me that I am a stayer- for now at least. No longer a newbie, not yet a goer but a stayer.
It has been just a week or 6. My life is similar to what it was like before the holidays, my house still feels like a home, I know my way around town and the school drill is familiar- water bottles, sunscreen and entry points.
Similar minus one essential ingredient- some very special friends have moved on.
Every time I pass one empty home, there is a tinge of sadness about the finality of my Brunei life. At houses of now faraway friends, I both miss their presence and I smile because of happy memories.
From experience, I know these feeling will fade over time, as new families will move in, their furniture and swing sets slowly erasing the images in my mind.
And thankfully, after 6 years of expat life, I also know that some of these new families will become new friends.
But forgetting the old ones? No, they’re remembered here- until we move away as well. And thus the cycle continues.
How about you? Where or when do you most notice the departure of friends? I’d love to hear. Put it in the comments.