One of the most exciting and also most difficult parts of living abroad is being part of an international community. On the upside, I get to meet and hang out with an amazing variety of people from all around the world. On the downside, since these people are international, it’s almost always inevitable that at some point they return home. My life has been graced by the presence of so many wonderful people who I have learned from and enjoyed. And so many of them have gone home, but their presence is remembered. In Julie and Susan, I had great work-out partners. With Carrie Ann and Ellen, I had countless game nights. Thanks to Kate, I went to some to-die-for cocktail parties. As for Judy, she made me laugh. This is just a small part of the list of wonderful people I’ve known who have returned home.
As much as I have enjoyed these friendships, I find myself doing something now that horrified me when I heard of others doing it when I first moved here: I ask how long the person will be living here. The short-termers are great to be casual friends with, but it’s just too hard to continually invest a lot of time with them. It’s a cold calculation and it sounds terrible, I realize. But it’s also necessary for self preservation. All that said, I do still hang out with newcomers. But I am now mourning the loss of yet another friend. After five years in Stockholm, Brooke and her husband Sean will be moving back to the US. Brooke has embraced her time in Europe to the fullest: having one child here (and another on the way), buying a summer house, learning the language and traveling quite a bit. It’s hard to say goodbye. So instead, I will wish her well in her new life in LA.