One thing that you quickly have to adapt to when living abroad is the transient life that touches every expat. When we first lived overseas we were oblivious to this until some good friends announced they were upping sticks to Geneva. Had we been in the UK this wouldn’t have been so much of an issue, but we were all living in Singapore so popping over for the weekend wasn’t really going to be an option.
The longer we stayed in Singapore, the more friends departed. I don’t think the two facts are related…
And the trouble is, when expats announce they’re moving on, it generally happens very quickly. Due to the restrictive conditions of employment visas in many countries; resignations, redundancies or promotions to other locations are normally dealt with in the time it takes a team of Indians to pack up a large family villa and load everything onto a shipping container.
In other words, about 4-6 hours.
We’ve been in Dubai for 18 months and the pattern has started again. We’ve made friends with other families who have children of the same age, attend the same school, or live in the same compound. We go out for regular child-free nights together and have learned enough about each other’s backgrounds, likes and dislikes to qualify as friends. We’ve shared ups and downs ranging from births and deaths to redundancies and promotions. And now they’re starting to leave.
In the space of just a few weeks, three families have quietly confided that they are moving on. Their children are being primed for an ‘exciting’ move involving new schools and friends. And once again, we get that slightly sinking feeling that however settled we feel, the constant comings and goings that are at the heart of an expat existence will continue to affect us.
So, you know who you are and we just want to say, we’ll miss you!