The things we miss while living abroad

Home has been on my mind the past few days.

Well, not my hometown specifically, but my friends and family in the States. You see, this was my best friend’s bachelorette weekend (or ‘hen do’ as the Brits say) and I wasn’t there.

I’ve known Laura for almost my entire life; her family moved into the house next door to mine when I was probably 4 years old and we’ve been friends ever since. Hers is one of four friendships of mine that have lasted for over two decades. As a bunch of mid twenty-somethings, I’ve always known how lucky I am to have those girls. Most people don’t find their people until secondary school or even Uni. I met mine before I ever set foot in a school.

Anyway, Laura is getting married in June to the love of her life and she chose New Orleans as the destination for her bachelorette, a city she and I both experienced together for the very first time a few years ago. Laura loves NOLA - the streets, the music, the drinks, the beignets, the culture, the atmosphere - she took to NOLA like a duck to water.

I don’t think either of us were surprised that I wouldn’t be able to make it. I know this because when she came to visit me in London in the beginning of December she made a point to tell me that if it wasn’t feasible or practical for me to make it she’d understand. As it turns out, it wasn’t either of those things and because we’d already talked about it I didn’t really feel like I was letting her down if I didn’t go. I also thought I’d made piece with the fact that I would miss it.

In reality, all it took was one Instagram story to make me lament not going.

Since leaving the US almost 13 months ago I’ve missed birthdays, holidays, and family gatherings. I’ve heard second hand about my cousins getting pregnant, friends buying puppies, houses, and starting new careers. Already this year I’ve been invited to a bridal shower and three weddings.

Birthdays and holidays are recurring, sure, but there are a lot of milestones and accomplishments that won’t come around again with another trip around the Sun.

How can I possibly reconcile it?

My best friend hit a milestone and all I did was dedicate a post to her on Instagram to show my love and to appease my remorse for not being there with her.

How do you choose who’s milestones to fly home for?

How do you not feel guilty for the things that you don’t fly home for?

Of course, I have to remind myself that even if I still lived in the States I wouldn’t be able to make it to everything. No one can! We’re meant to support our friends and our family, but sometimes life gets in the way.

I love London. I’ve learned a lot in the last year and I’m proud of the person I’m becoming and the life I’m building.

I’m happy here.

Yet I can’t ignore that as long as I live thousands of miles away, there are things that I will undoubtedly miss. Sometimes I find myself wondering why the place that makes me happy has to be so far away from my friends and family.

Of course the best thing I can do is put in the effort to maintain my relationships back home and to try my best to make the distance feel smaller. And to be there for the things I can be there for and to be kind to myself when my heart feels heavy when I can’t.

Oh, of course wine and a bubble bath helps too.

With love, V