This photo have been doing the rounds for years now. It’s an amazing piece of artwork and I admire the thought and perspective it shows and how one can relate to it.
From personal experience I can vouch that this ‘hole’ or vacuum, represented here is not just reserved for Expats but for everyone that’s had to move away from their families and friends whether it be for jobs, relationships or whatever reason.
We’ve moved up and down the length and breadth of South Africa for many years. At one point living more than 2000 km away from my parents and the in laws, away from our hometowns and our friends.
Every move creates a ‘hole’. One that’s not easily filled. My kids have lived far from their grandparents and family for years. We made an effort to call regularly and visit as often as we could back then but not seeing them for months perhaps a year or more at a time leaves a gaping big hole. With some major effort the relationship between the families survived the absences and the kids and grandparents can relate to each other when we do get to see them because we kept the bonds strong.
Having moved to and now living in Mauritius created it’s own ‘hole’. Some days are hard and it feels like the hole can swallow you and other days it’s just a pinhole depending on the day. Living far away from everything that’s familiar is hard, and yes even at 42 I miss my mom, and often shit gets real when my hole gets overwhelmingly big.
Having said that….. I can stare myself silly at the hole every day, or I can choose to get up and go out and create a new life, embrace new adventures and meet new people. It’s not in my makeup to hide away. I might hover under the blankets for a while feeling sorry for myself but then I get up and pull my big girl panties on and get on with life.
We have an opportunity that we didn’t have before. An opportunity that many envies us. We have a new life that wouldn’t have been possible back at home. We have a chance to explore. I live in daily gratitude for these wonderful opportunities and experiences.
Our family are loving the experience of life in a new country. We enjoy a better quality of life in many ways. We’re learning to embrace our new surroundings. There are many challenges and often we feel frustrated but the good often outweighs the bad. We grow stronger each day. We find the happiness in the here and now.
Looking back on what could have been will just hold you down. Live in the moment. Treasure each second, each minute, each day, because tomorrow is not guaranteed.
We fill the hole by messaging on a daily basis, by making fun video calls to the family and taking screenshots with us all in the picture. We keep in touch by sending postcards from afar. We’re blessed to have this technology and we use it to the max. Years ago something like group video calling did not exist on your phone. Last night we phoned the father in law to congratulate him on his 75th birthday. We had a group videocall with the in laws in St Helena Bay, the one sister in law in East London, the other in Gordon’s Bay and our family in Mauritius. I found that mind-boggling and awesome that this is even possible.
The ‘hole’ created by leaving everything behind is real but it’s not insurmountable. Life is what you make of it. You can choose to make your hole bigger by daily using a spade on it and digging into the past or you can start filling that hole with good memories and create some new ones while you’re at it.
We didn’t forsake our family and friends and we live certain in the knowledge that they know that. We chose an adventure or perhaps an adventure chose us. Either way. We choose to make the best of it! ❤️