Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Hardest Part

About serving overseas is, without a doubt, missing the milestones that continue to happen even when you're not there.  Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, births, deaths, and the myriad other events.  It's hard enough not to be there for the day to day, but missing those once-in-a-lifetime moments leaves me with a sense of guilt, longing, sadness, and frustration.

I'm feeling this acutely today for two reasons.  The first is that the rest of my siblings are all at my parents' house this weekend, something that happens once or twice a year if we're lucky.  I am feeling okay about this one, because I am headed back to the US for a visit next month and will more than likely be able to see all my brothers and their families.  But I still wish I could be spending the long weekend with all of them.  Fall is one of my favorite times in New England, and there's something about the season that makes me want to curl up and watch football, eat comfort food, and hang out with family and friends.

The second one is harder.  Today, one of my very good friends is getting married.  I had held out hope until just a few weeks ago that I'd make it home for this wedding, but it just wasn't to be.  And even though B and her fiancé understand and accept why I can't be there, I still really WANT to be there.  I want to share their special day and celebrate the amazing couple that they are.  So I'm sort of wallowing in my own sadness about this one, even though I'd seen it coming a year ago.  So B&O, all the best wishes to you on this beautiful autumn day.  I love you guys!  Congratulations!

(Note:  I have definitely reached the trough of the cultural adjustment cycle, which is not a fun time even when you know what's happening and why and how to get past it.  It's not as bad as it has been in past sojourns abroad, but I still have my moments.  Like today.)

So.  It's time to stop feeling sorry for myself and move on.  Luckily I have a fun, busy week ahead of me to keep me occupied.  Plus two very playful kittens who don't allow wallowing.  I do have to say, though, that I have no idea how I ever survived living abroad before without home internet access, Skype, APO, and Netflix streaming...  Things have gotten much easier in just a few years.  (B, how far we've come from our little Lemon Tree Cottage and SATC marathons with the best of Cape Town delivery services!)