One of the hardest things that we face when we live expatriate lifestyles is saying good-byes to friends. It happens more often than when we live in our own countries simply because either our postings end or postings of our friends end. And so most of us spend a good part of our overseas lives saying good-byes and making new friends, so that we can say good-byes all over again.
I bet this good-bye business was much harder in past years – before the advent of e-mails, Facebook, Twitter, and all the other social networking sites. It’s become much easier now to continue to stay in touch and see what your friends are up to in their new places of residence. However, no matter how convenient these things are and no matter how easy they make it for us not to forget about each other, nothing can ever replace the real face-to-face interaction. Reunions are important.
I learned this last weekend when we finally had a 3-day get together with the circle of friends from my first year posting in St Petersburg, Russia. We planned it for almost 2 years, going back and forth on dates and places and logistics. Finally, three years after our roads went in different directions, we made it. The eight of us got together.
It is impossible to paint in words how much fun we had! Like they say in the MasterCard commercials: Flight 500 Euro, Hotel 15O Euro, Dinners out 100 Euro. The amount of laughs, smiles, memories, and overall positive energy – PRICELESS!
So I really encourage you to organize and plan reunions. It is not really that difficult – all that it requires is the commitment and the sense of making your reunion a priority on your list of things to do and spend money/time on. Seeing friends from years and countries in your memory is a gift too precious to waste.
We are already making plans for our next reunion.
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