About two weeks after arriving in Aberdeen, I was starting to feel lonely and wondering how to go about making friends. That very same day, my brother’s best friend facebook messaged me with the contact information for Nary, a girl he knew living in Aberdeen. I contacted her and she invited me, sight unseen, to watch the Bachelorette with a group of her girlfriends.
Me being the chronically shy girl that I am, was slightly terrified. I showed up with a bottle of red in my hand and walked into a room full of strangers. To say that I was intimidated would be a massive euphemism. But I had nothing to fear because those strangers quickly became some of my dearest friends.
That was the first time I met Tanvi. Nary asked me what I liked to do for fun and I humiliatingly blurted out ‘uh, I have two dogs”. Bingo. That got Tanvi’s attention and we quickly discovered that we both have Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (aka angels sent straight from heaven).
|My angel, Samson|
|Tanvi's angel, Luca|
Saying goodbye is hands down the hardest part of being an expat, and it seems like we’re continuously doing it. Whether it’s parting with our family back home for an unknown period of separation, or wishing dear friends luck in their next adventure, saying goodbye stinks.
The tradition in Scotland is that whenever a person is moving away you throw them a leaving “do” (the word ‘do’ is interchangeable with the word ‘party’.) I’ve attended various ‘leaving do’s since arriving in Aberdeen, but last Saturday’s was by far the hardest as we toasted to Ram and Tanvi’s dwindling time in Aberdeen.
|Highland Coo Cupcakes!!!|
|Scottish flag cupcakes!!!|
It was a fun celebratory time.....mostly. Before going out I emailed my mom to tell her how sad I was about losing Tanvi. She gave me this advice: The goodbye party is for fun; save the tears for when she actually leaves. I almost made it through the whole night, but sentiment got the better of me and I’m sorry to admit that I didn’t get through the evening without shedding a tear or two…or five.
I’ve been putting off writing this blog post because I just don’t want to face it. I know we’ll keep in touch, but she’s such a part of my daily life, it pains me to think of how much I’ll miss her. And it’s just hitting me like a ton of bricks that this is part of the expat cycle. Our little circle can’t stay here. We will all eventually move on from Scotland. If you were to flash forward 6 years, I doubt any of us would still live here.
Our hope is that maybe we’ll all cycle back to Houston together, or maybe we’ll get thrown together in another destination (hopefully AustraliaJ). Luckily I’ve seen my parents go through this. I've seen that in the expat community, 'keep in touch' isn't simply a vague unanswered promise.
I’ve seen them repatriate and stay in contact with dear friends that they served expat assignments with. I’ve seen them meet for holidays and join each other for vacations. I’ve seen them attend each other’s children’s weddings. And that’s my hope for Tanvi and Ram. That one day we’ll attend their childrens’ weddings. That in 30 years, we’ll still meet for a girl’s weekend and play Mahjong.
It doesn’t change the fact that their departure will leave a big gaping hole in our social circle here in Aberdeen, but it gives me some comfort to look to the future and wonder what adventure will bring us back together again. And that’s the thought that kept me (mostly) composed for their leaving do. But I’m not making any such promises for when their flight departs from ABZ….
Bon Accord, Tanvi, Ram, and Luca. Happy to meet, sorry to part, and happy to meet again....