Expat parents, expat children

Expat parentsI am thinking of many people, today. I am thinking of my friend Paola, who flew from Ghana to London for the marriage of her daughter. Paola was not there during the whole preparation – nor was she there to go through the jolly pre-marriage period with her grandchildren. I am also thinking of Guia and Marco, who are flying from Jerusalem to England, to celebrate their daughter’s university degree. She concludes a three years period of studying, living, and coping far from her parents, who have to take a plane and go through the hated security procedures at Ben Gurion airport to be with her.

My mind is also on my children. Mattia has successfully completed his first year at the university in England, and will join us for a short holiday in Japan before going to Jerusalem, where part of his roots are, and then join us in Italy for the summer holidays. He, too, had to study, live and cope on his own this past year. As he will the next. While me and my husband will be hanging on to Facebook and Skype to be close to him in good and bad times.

Of course the moments when expat parents and expat children get together are full of happiness like no other moment. It is hard to explain the anticipation and the intensity they entail.

Yet I sometimes try to imagine a different life, a life like some of my friends have, where parents and children live in the same city, or in the same country, and see each other often even when the children go and live on their own. I try to picture how it would be if I knew that I can see Mattia and Alessandro every two Sundays, or know that should anything at all happen, the distance between a phone call and my children could be covered in an hour. Maybe less. How would it be if my children’s university were five tube’s stops from my home? How would I feel knowing that one day – any day – one of them might surprise me with a last minute call and take me to the movie?

I have no idea. I guess it would feel good, and sometimes I hate the distance. I hate missing precious days with them, I hate having to rely always on the Internet to talk to them, and I hate waking up in the middle of the night and worry because I felt they were sad when we last Skyped.

But then I cheer up and think that feeling close has nothing to do with geography. And that those parents who see their children constantly will never experience what I am feeling now, barely able to sit quiet in my chair in the Jakarta airport, because I know that in a few hours I’ll see Mattia walking towards me at the arrivals in Narita, and I can’t wait.

4 commenti Aggiungi il tuo

  1. Claudia Salim ha detto:

    Dear mrs.Claudia,

    I stumbled on your blog after surfing on the internet for hours about story of expat families. My dad is also an Indonesian expat, he works for the UN and has to move constantly from one to another country in every two years. I find this writing very emotional and touchful, especially since it’s written by a mother. The last time we travelled together as a family was in December. When he has to go back to his working life schedule, I always end up feeling sad and wish that my dad worked for a firm or company or an organization where he doesnt have to live far from me. But then I realized, if it was not because of the million miles distance, the internet dependent relationship, or the low frequency of our meeting, I wouldnt be so grateful of having an amazing parent. And also, the fact that sometimes I have to wait like months just to meet him makes me realize how big the value of a family is. People say waiting is boring, but to me doesnt have anything/anyone to wait is more boring. I would love to wait for weeks or months as long as I know it’s family that Im going to meet 🙂 – I read that your family did some travelling to Japan. Look forward to you sharing the amazing story and also more stories on your sons, because I know they must be so proud and happy for having a mom like you 🙂

    1. claudialandini ha detto:

      Thank you so much Claudia for your beautiful comment. And I totally agree: having no one or nothing to wait for IS boring 🙂
      Do you also live in Jakarta? I came back last night from Japan, and was happy to find my home.
      Thanks again,

      1. Claudia Salim ha detto:

        Hi Claudia (what a coincidence that we have the same first name!),

        Yes. I’m finally back in Jakarta (lived in Singapore for 4years to pursue my business degree). Do you have a seminar, public class or some event that I can attend to in Jakarta? Would love to see you in person and exchanging ideas with a great woman like you 🙂 – I also have been reading some of your writings in the last 1 hour and I find them very inspiring.

  2. claudialandini ha detto:

    Dear Claudia, thank you so much for your uplifting words!! I am flattered. We can meet, with pleasure, and have a coffee and a chat. I am leaving soon to Italy, but if we can’t make it before, I’ll be back in September. Write me at claudiaexpat@expatclic.com. I wait for you!


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