Expat blogger pal Cosette in Australia is participating in a an expat blogger challenge with writing prompts from In an Opal Hearted Country. I found out about it a little late but many of the prompts spoke to me, so I’m taking part here and there a little out of order. Today’s topic is “something I’ve left behind.”
We’ve all experienced leaving something behind, but the enormity of moving abroad can make parting with the things and people you love the most in the world hit home even harder. A move thousands of miles away means cartons of stuff either get put in storage, sold or given away and people you love can’t help but feel left behind. But it’s not all bad…
I’m not a hoarder by any means but I have a tendency to accumulate stuff. Clothes, shoes, little knickknacks and more just seem to find me and maybe moving abroad was the best way to make a clean break with all this random stuff. I arrived with two suitcases and that’s it. Time to start anew, right?
But what about the people? Thank goodness it’s 2014 and technology can lessen the physical distance between people through FaceTime and free international calling and Gchat. Technology allows us to have access to someone seemingly 24/7. That’s not to say it’s the same as seeing someone face to face but it’s the second best thing. And when you visit family and friends often, it really doesn’t feel like you left them behind.
But aside from people we leave behind as life takes hold, let’s look at tangible things –- these things that for the most part amounted to clutter for me. Since my move, I’ve learned that pared down is the way to go –- and is evidenced by the boxes of random stuff in our garage that I refuse to find places for in our house. Things we’ve done fine without. Yet they’re still in our garage.
And while not as outwardly obvious, choosing the expat life meant leaving behind the self-doubting and indecisive Diane. There’s no choice but to speak French and embrace the good and the bad that life throws my way. With time I’ve slowly become more sure of myself and my abilities and have the confidence to navigate my new home with ease. In the process, I’ve gained a husband, a dog and a beautiful house we get to call our own. For everything I’ve left behind I’ve gained more than I ever could have imagined including a new family who loves me despite my flaws, a new culture that begs to be discovered and I’ve embraced a new life at a new pace with different faces.
And despite everything I’ve left behind, I’ve managed to live just fine without the things that I once thought I needed so badly to be me. When we let go of comfort items and strip away the clutter, we see everything in clear focus. And I must say I like the view.