Contrary to popular belief, goodbyes are never easy for any expat, even for the most seasoned ones who have spent their entire lives hopping from one country to another. While expats might be used to farewells, it’s still hard to bid goodbye to the friendships forged and the place that was home for the past few years.
K and I have been getting a taste of our first goodbyes as over the last several months, a number of our friends have either left Joburg or are in the process of leaving. The biggest reality of being an expat has just hit us and it’s not been painless. While we are very happy for them as they embark on yet another new adventure, it’s hard to see them go.
While we do have an amazing set of local South African friends, who welcomed us and made us feel at home when we first came to Joburg, it’s the void created when expat friends leave, is what makes it difficult. Because it’s usually with them that you have really come to know the city you live in. From the excitement of discovering a new coffee shop to the adventure of walking tours and the challenges of living in a foreign country – you have shared it all. They understand and share the same sentiments – whether its looking for the perfect neighbourhood to live in, getting the internet installed at home, finding the perfect school for the kids or just dealing with local authorities. The similarities despite the differences, is what helps expats make friends quick and thick.
With time, (hopefully) K and I will also get used to this constant churn of friends but now, as exacting as it may be to see you go, it’s time for you to forge new friendships, seek new adventures and say bye-bye….until we meet next time.