Reconnecting with home-country friends can be challenging.
My life and the lives of my home-country friends used to be parallel. But when I moved abroad nine years ago, our lives began turning, splitting, and taking different directions. Now? Our experiences have separated us, geographically and emotionally. Our lives aren’t parallel anymore. When I visit my home-country, I feel this distance between my friends and me. I sense the disconnection. It feels awkward.
Research says this common expat struggle is most prevalent in women. I asked Jessica, a JET teacher currently living in Hiroshima, Japan, about her experience of reconnecting with friends during a recent visit to Indiana.
“Every time I’ve gone back,” she told me, “it’s felt a little more difficult to communicate. There’s a little less in common each time, a bigger gap in how much we know about what the other is doing and what our lives are really like.”
This can be painful, stressful, and disheartening for any expat moving abroad. A startling moment comes when we realize we can’t relate with our home-country friends anymore. We can feel as though the link between us has been severed. Do I let go?We can wonder. Do I strive to maintain my long-distance friendships? We ask ourselves.And if so, how?
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Originally published in Global Living Magazine, www.globallivingmagazine.com