Sunday, March 18, 2007

Acting Out

One of the expat blogs in Oz I enjoy reading is kittenDownUnder, which is authored by a woman who has written some honest, from-the-gut entries about what it's like to migrate to the other side of the Pacific. In her most recent entry she laments how little her friends and family have corresponded with her since she moved, and that gets me a bit worried. You see, I can already sense how my own friends and family are starting to "act out" about our impending move. Some have reacted as if I told them I have a terminal disease. Others have expressed how happy they are for us, but also admit they are feeling angry about our decision. One friend disclosed to another some confidential information I had shared, presumably because it won't matter because I will be gone in a few months anyway. Another friend is holding me personally responsible for her lack of sleep and loss of happiness over all this. Gawd! Is it any wonder that Australia is looking more appealing now? But honestly, as "kitten" indicates, I know that I am going to have some bouts of the blues once I get there and realize that this part of my life, including my current batch of friends and maybe even some relationships with relatives, is over. I am already starting to miss all of this, and I haven't packed a box yet.


Tors said...

It happens... oh boy, I know, I've had similar hurtful experiences from family and friends over the years. It's sad, some people just can't get their minds around the distance and so to them it's like you've disappeared off the face of the earth. And sometimes they take it extremely personally. :(

But hey, at least you are aware of the possibility NOW, and you can prepare for that. You might want to invite your family & friends to subscribe to your blog, and post weekly updates. Post lots of pictures. Send postcards. Basically, keep people in the loop from your end. Those are some of the things that have helped me a lot.

And hopefully the people you care about will come around to the idea and be better about keeping in touch. :)

The Prof said...

Thanks so much for the feedback and suggestions, Tors. I think I am going to invite my family and friends to subscribe, as a way to keep the distance a bit shorter.

Audra said...

When I told my grandmother we were moving to Australia, she went off on a little rant about responsibility, and security, and when am I going to drop some roots and stay in one place. This went on for some time, when she finally looked wistfully into the distance and declared "Your grandpa and I always wanted to go to Australia...but now he's dead, and it's too late." No matter how I explain that that is precisely the reason I do nearly every crazy thing that crosses my mind, she cannot reconcile her fear with her longing. She will likely expire in front of the TV, watching golf, in Fayette, Ohio.

The point of that rambling example is thyat ultimately, you only need to satisfy yourself. While there are people whose opinions and blessings matter to you, and it can be hard to displeasure them, little satisfaction will be earned by governing your actions according to the fears and prejudices of others.

That said, in some ways I am as close to my family and friends as when I lived four hours away. I write and call often - but they hardly ever initiate contact with me, and often when I speak to them, they are wrapped up in the tedium of the everyday. I think it may have something to do with leaving vs being left. When you move on, somehow what you knew, your "previous life" becomes more important and valuable, because it builds the foundations for your new growth. However, when you stay behind, nothing has really changed besides the absence of a special person; everything else is familiar and comfortable...not the qualities that ceate longing and incite passion, or fuel growth.

The Prof said...


These are comforting words. I think you have captured exactly what we sense about this whole "let's-give-up-our-normal-life-for-a-big-adventure-in-Australia" thing. Thanks for expressing this here. (I must find a good place to post these comments for future ex-pats!).