This time of year is a fraught one, frantic with the last few weeks of school and all that it entails! Add to that a phenomenal amount of Bavarian Bank holidays, and you find yourself studying the calendar and wondering how on earth you are going to fit everything in before the end of term!
Despite the fact that we are all looking forward to the summer holidays and the brilliant freedom that they bring, there’s something that doesn’t feel quite right, and will be at the forefront of many an Expat mind at this time of year. For alongside homesickness, bureaucracy, and the testing of your language skills – there’s something you can always guarantee in this transient life, and that’s farewells. No-one tends to put down roots anywhere for too long as a work Expat (unless you are married to a local of course!), and before you know it the boxes that you never did get around to unpacking are being loaded back onto a lorry once again.
This year a lot of friends will leave Munich and either go home, or move on to pastures new. And for those of us left behind, it leaves a strange mix of emotions. Jealousy at the thought that they get to return to what they love – or onto new, fresh and exciting places. Relief at the thought that it’s not our turn yet (and that those boxes can stay in the loft for the foreseeable!), and at times an almost overwhelming sadness at the goodbyes that are to come.
Friends are important when the majority of those that you love dwell in other countries. It doesn’t take too long to become close to those that know exactly what it is you are going through in a country that isn’t yours. Mutual wisdom, tips on the place that is temporarily home, shared gripes and experiences (both good and bad) quickly bond you together. And then before you realise where the time’s gone, these friends are packing up, and are ready to start the whole process over again. It’s a cycle that repeats itself for as long as you live this life too.
But there is one amazing thing about all of this… Yes, the goodbyes are an expatriate inevitability, but there’s also something else you can count on – a massive patchwork quilt of friends spread out across the globe. Now, whose first for visitors?