It’s a few months short of three years that I’ve now being living in Japan and in a week I’ll be travelling home to South Africa for a short holiday. The only problem is that the person who is going back to South Africa is not the same person who left South Africa in 2011.
Living in a foreign country has a strange effect on you as a person. It changes who you are and changes your view of the world in so many ways.
What does not change though is the person you were when you left in the mind of your friends and family back home. You are still that same person to them even years later.
Their lives carry on as normal and they get families, mortgages and everything else that comes along with being a responsible adult while you start a life in another country that is far away that it may as well be in another galaxy to them.
You do change during this time though and mature and get everything that comes with being an adult. You may start a family even and get all the responsibilities that come with that but as far as the people you know back home you are still the single, carefree person you were when you stepped on the plane all those years ago.
It’s an interesting conundrum and one that is the sole domain of those of us that have decided to begin lives in foreign countries. How do we cope with the changes in both ourselves as well as our friends and family?
To some extent technology helps alleviate some of these issues. We can use Facetime, Skype, email, Facebook, Twitter and hundred other social platforms to keep up to date with everything that is happening back home. What these things don’t solve though is to make us a part of those changes. Sure, we can comment or send emails and take part in a discussion in that way but at same tie we are merely responding rather than actively participating.
Personally I feel that it’s part and parcel of travelling the world and that the experiences and stories we carry with us when we return home will make us all the richer for it. Our friends and family will find so many new aspects to us but perhaps the most important thing is that at our core we will always remain the same person no matter where in the world we travel and we will always have a common bond of friendship with those friends who we grew up with that is a hallmark of the strongest of friendships.