“Just as morning follows night and spring follows winter, there will be new beginnings: new people to meet, new things to do.” (Lois Rock)
The lifestyle here is quite different ... Not just the food, the language or the weather, but the way life constantly changes.
We are learning to make friends faster and say goodbye to them more often. We understand that although we don’t get to see our parents and family as frequently as before, that when we do, we hold them tightly and appreciate every minute that we share together. And we’re finding out that often, when we say goodbye, we’re not even sure when we’ll hug them "hello" again.
Throughout life there are always goodbyes. Some are easy and some are hard. I remember being so happy to saying goodbye at the completion of my four-year university course and departing overseas for my honeymoon. But other goodbyes have been much harder like saying farewell to friends too young to die, robbed of their lives through terrible illness or accidents.
Here, in Thailand, it feels like we’re always saying goodbye to someone. A family member going back home, a short term team leaving, a friend returning to their country on furlough, fellow ZOE missionaries heading to America to fundraise, children from the kid’s schools going to live in another country, teachers getting job appointments across the other side of the world… you get the idea.
The lifestyle here amongst the foreigners is very transient and just when you make that friend, grow to love that teacher, or find a person that you really admire, it seems they’re gone… just like that.
I’m not sure exactly how we’re meant to handle it… Don’t make friends? Be closed off? Stop inviting guests over? Just don’t ‘commit’ to any friendships? Stay inside the house (LOL)?
I don’t believe so!
It’s just that life is different now. And that’s okay.
The longer I’m here, the more I begin to understand that I have to change the way I view how life is ‘meant to be’. I’m learning that life doesn’t follow a ‘rule book’ and that I’m not ‘in control’.
And so… ever so slowly, when I feel like I want to hang on to my traditions and my way of doing things but instead I choose to see that life is and can bedifferent, I actually understand that I can be content with different.
And actually, different can be GREAT!
The sense of what ‘family’ means and what ‘community’ is, has definitely changed for me now. These concepts extend far beyond race, culture, or traditions and I like that.
I want to accept difference and be open to giving up what I am accustomed to and be able to fully live the life that is here… goodbyes and all!