I was at a function on Saturday night where the couple were celebrating their 60th birthdays. The place was filled with their children, their grandchildren, siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, second cousins, aunts, uncles, family friends and so on and so on.
This is the sort of event that hits you like a ton of bricks. It is the sort of event that make you realise what your life choices have resulted in. These are the sorts of events you miss when you live so far away from home - family get-togethers, cousin's weddings, best friends' 40th birthdays, babies being born, grandparents' funerals, engagements, christenings, wakes, graduations and celebrations of any kind. These events make you feel like you belong, (or that you don't!), they remind you that you come from a long line of people with generations and generations behind (or ahead?) of you, and many more to come. They remind you that life goes on and that you are not alone in the world. They remind you that blood is mostly thicker than water...
Not such a big deal when you are around and "have" to attend yet another family event. But they leave a hole in your life when you are far away from family and lifelong friends.
My advice to young couples, so in love they are prepared to move to the other side of the world? Go home! Stay at home! Marry the girl or the boy next door. You can travel the world together, live somewhere else, and then go home together.
Life is complicated enough, don't make things worse.