Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Don't do it! Stay at home!

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.


  1. Interesting post. You sound a little dissatisfied with your life-choices.

    If I'd stayed in N'castle and married my "local" girlfriend I would probably have been divorced by now and as estranged from my extended family as I am today.

    That said, I do miss a sense of belonging. However much I learn the customs and language (and right now I'm in determinedly speak/read/write English mode even at work), I'll always be an outsider looking in. Most of the time this is fine - I've gained so much by living in various countries but nothing comes for free and I do miss the feeling of walking around my home town.

  2. Dave I don't think I will ever be satisfied if only because I can never have it all. I have friends that have lived in several countries and the more places they live in the more dissatisfied they are - if only we could take a little from each place - take the best and leave the rest.

    Really I'm not sure I could live the Aussie life and I'm not so sure I want to move home. There are also some things about Sweden that I would never want to be without.

    Saying that I've been here since the early 90s but I too will always be an outsider. Yet I don't totally want to be absorbed by Sweden and all things Swedish. I reached my peak when people couldn't tell I wasn't a Swede.

    Living in another country really does complicate life, in so many ways. It has become harder for me too now that I have children and I feel I am "denying" them their family and their roots. I want them to know the Aussie way and that they more than just Swedish. I want my heritage to be imprinted on them, strange as that may sound. That's not so easy when the trip home takes its toll, not just financially but in so many ways.

    Sorry to read that you are estranged from you extended family. I love and miss mine.

    I have gained so much and yet sacrificed so much being here. We all do. I've always been torn and I probably always will be...